2017 Challenger Job Outlook
The economy, which continued to gain momentum throughout 2016, is expected to remain strong in 2017. However, the election of Donald Trump, which promises to shake things up in Washington, D.C. and around the country, could have the biggest impact on the job market, where the Trump effect is likely to benefit industries and occupations that have struggled in recent decades amid globalization and technological advances.
In its annual job market outlook, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. expects corporate downsizing to remain subdued in 2017. Meanwhile, job creation should continue to improve. The biggest change, according to the firm, will be the areas in which those jobs are created.
“For the last five to ten years, we have been talking primarily about the ongoing growth in health care, technology, education and services. Make no mistake, those areas will continue to see increased demand for workers. However, the election of Donald Trump, potentially opens the doors to a wide range job titles that have struggled to gain a foothold in the new millennium,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The energy sector has dominated job cuts for the last two years. However, even with increased job cuts in energy sector in 2016, the yearend job cut total is on track to be below last year’s level and among the lowest annual totals in the last eight years since the end of the Great Recession.
Through November, US employers announced 493,288 job cuts, 14 percent fewer than the 574,888 announced between January and November last year. Just over one in five (105,041) of the 493,288 job cuts announced this year occurred in the energy sector, which suffered its second consecutive year of depressed oil prices and cutbacks in exploration and drilling.
“Oil prices have stabilized over the last six months, and the latest data show an uptick. So, we do not expect to see a repeat of these heavy cuts in 2017. The absence of these cuts could send the pace of announced job cuts to record lows in the coming year,” said Challenger.
“At the same time, job creation remained positive in 2016, with employer payrolls growing by an average of 180,000 net new workers per month. That was down slightly from the previous year, but still a healthy rate of growth by most standards,” said Challenger.
The upward trend is expected to continue in the new year. The outlook is bolstered by the latest data on job openings, which reached record highs in the last half of 2016. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that from June through October, the economy averaged 5,618,000 job openings per month.
While job openings are expected to remain high in 2017, the new administration is dramatically changing where those new job openings might be found, according to Challenger.
“It’s nearly impossible to say what will happen once President-elect Trump takes over the White House, but based on campaign pledges and early pre-inauguration moves and statements, it is likely that the jobs that will benefit most from a Trump administration include those in the energy, construction, defense, industrial and consumer goods manufacturing and financial sectors,” said Challenger.
Challenger provided the following list of the industries that should do well under a Trump administration, as well as the occupations that could be the biggest winners:
2017 Job Market Outlook
BIGGEST WINNERS IN THE NEW YEAR
Trump’s promise to soften regulations, provide greater access to federal lands for exploration and drilling, as well as his well-documented promises to revive the American coal industry could reverse job trends that have seen oil and coal employment shrink dramatically over the last two years.
- Petroleum engineers
- Coal miners
- Oil rig operators
- Pipeline builders and operators
- Environmental engineers
President-elect Trump wants to initiate an aggressive effort to rebuild and modernize the nation’s infrastructure, include roads, highways, bridges, schools, hospitals, and airports. If he succeeds in getting such projects funded, it would be a boon to the civil and commercial construction sectors.
- Civil engineers
- Paving equipment operators
- Crane operators
- Concrete finishers
- Heavy equipment operators
- Project managers
President-elect Trump has expressed a strong desire to not only increase troop levels throughout the military, but to build new ships for the Navy, new jets for the Air Force, and modernize the nuclear arsenal. These efforts will undoubtedly result in more high-paying opportunities among military contractors, including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, General Dynamics and Northrup Grumman, just to name a few.
- Design engineers
- Computer systems engineers
- Project managers
- Electrical engineers
President-elect Trump has already had an impact on the manufacturing sector, stepping in personally to save many of the job at Carrier that were slated to move offshore. Through a mix of renegotiated trade agreements, corporate tax breaks and other incentives, Trump hopes to make it financially beneficial for companies to keep their manufacturing operations in America.
- Assembly line workers
- Logistics engineers
Trump will work toward rolling back some of the regulations and restrictions placed on the financial industry in the wake of the Great Recession.
- Stock brokers/traders
- Financial advisers
- Mortgage brokers and bankers
- Investment bankers
- Residential and commercial real estate agents