According to the December jobs report released last week by the U.S. Labor Department, the job market is showing signs of cooling, but still ended the year on a strong note. Job additions (led by leisure and hospitality, healthcare, and construction) and the rate of declining unemployment exceeded expectations, which could also mean continued Fed interest rate hikes. 

However, at the same time layoffs among major businesses in the tech industry have dominated headlines as of late. Amazon, Salesforce, Meta and others have announced plans to downsize headcount, reversing the tech hiring trend that boomed over the pandemic.

Given the above reports and the high level of concern about a recession, CivicScience gauged the U.S. public on how secure or insecure they are feeling about their jobs, as well as what job searching looks like as we kick off the new year. 

Poll results suggest that more than 1-in-3 employed U.S. adults (36%) are concerned about being laid off from their jobs in the following months, with 1-in-10 workers feeling ‘very concerned.’

Concern about layoffs is felt the strongest among remote and hybrid workers, compared to those working in person at a location. A majority (51%) of those working in a hybrid situation (both remote and in person) and 38% of those working fully remote are at least ‘somewhat’ concerned about being laid off in the near future.

Concern also ranks highest among younger employees, with Gen Z adults feeling the most worried about losing their jobs this year. 

Additional CivicScience data show that an average of 13% of respondents who worked in 2022 said they were laid off from a job. Remote and hybrid workers were more likely to have been let go (13% and 18% respectively). Those numbers also skew heavily toward those in tech positions, far outnumbering reported layoffs in other industries – results show 24% in tech and 27% in operations/sales report having been laid off from a job within the last 12 months.

However, concern about being laid off among those in tech/sales fields and remote workers may be countered by growing confidence in finding a new job, as shown in January data reported by the Penta-CivicScience ESI. When it comes to job searching, 60% of adults who are unemployed (exclusively due to job loss or inability to find work) and 45% of employed adults plan to search for a new job this year.

Significantly higher percentages of those working in technical and professional/managerial positions report they are ‘very likely’ to search for a new job this year, compared to other fields. Likewise, hybrid workers report the greatest likelihood to search for a new job, followed by fully-remote workers, driven perhaps by concern about being laid off or looking to find a new position for other reasons.

What are those other reasons likely to be? Poll results suggest that those searching or planning to search for a new job are looking first and foremost for better pay – 4-in-10 say increasing their income is the top reason for job hunting. Job flexibility, career growth, job security, job benefits, and other reasons are more evenly distributed among additional motivating factors.

Among job-searching trends, CivicScience data show that online job-searching has increased year-over-year, with a growing number of U.S. job-seekers searching on a weekly basis (up three percentage points in 2023 from 2021). CivicScience respondents also name top among job-search sites, with more than half (53%) of online job-searchers saying they turn to the platform (January 2023 data). That’s followed by LinkedIn (35%). 

Stay tuned for more upcoming insights into the rapidly changing 2023 job market. Learn how we help employers stay on top of the latest breaking trends: work with us.