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How could a recession impact the job market?

MINNEAPOLIS -- Finding a job has arguably never been easier than right now given the number of openings.

But with fears of an economic downturn in the near future, we wanted to know: How could a recession impact the job market? Good Question.

Jeff Wagner learned the circumstances now are much different than the recession over a decade ago.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, there were 214,000 job openings in the state at the end of last year. At the same time, there were 93,000 unemployed people.

That means there was more than twice as many available jobs as people to fill them.

How would a potential recession impact the job market?

"There remains a tremendous imbalance between number of candidates and number of openings, and that's not going to go away soon," said Jim Kwapick, district director of Robert Haff, a staffing and talent agency.

Even as fears of a recession loom, he said the ball is still in the court of the job seeker.


"Salaries have moved up and employers continue to move salaries up," he said.

The concern might lie in where you apply. Kwapick said the economy is largely driven by the consumer and how they spend their money.

"A way to think about that is which sectors or segments of the economy would I consider to be a need versus a want," he said.

"Needs" could include healthcare, manufacturing, energy. Those might be safer choices when looking for a job. A "want" includes hospitality, travel and retail -- industries that could struggle in a recession.

There's also the theory of "Last one in, first one out." That means the most recent hires are more likely to be let go if layoffs are necessary. Kwapick said rather than be discouraged by that possibility, do your research on where to apply.

"If you're in an industry or segment that you think might be exposed to a softening of the economy, there are so many jobs available right now that we're really at historic levels relative to unfilled jobs," he said.

A recent survey of 2,400 people by Kwapick's firm found 41 percent of those polled plan to look for a new job in the next six months. The number one reason is to earn a larger salary.

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