Why We Expect the Job Market’s Slowdown to Renew in 2024

When Will the Job Market Recover?

The job market is steadily returning to its prepandemic self.

Although the slowdown in job growth paused in the second half of 2023, we expect it to renew as 2024 unfolds. In our latest Economic Outlook, we detail that we expect real gross domestic product growth to slow in 2024 versus the solid 2.5% growth posted in 2023. We expect GDP growth in year-over-year terms to dip to around 1.5% by the end of 2024. Slowing GDP growth in 2024 will compel firms to slow hiring in order to avoid deteriorating profits. As economic growth reaccelerates over 2025-26, we expect a resumption of the labor market recovery to follow. After a temporary uptick over 2024-25, we expect unemployment in 2028 to reach 3.5%, right where it was before the pandemic. We forecast that labor force participation will recover ahead of prepandemic rates as widespread job availability pulls in formerly discouraged workers.

When Will the Job Market Recover?

Nonfarm payroll employment growth was 2.1% annualized in the three months ended March 2024, with about 303,000 jobs added in March.

This growth rate is in line with the 2% in the prior three months and slightly above the 1.7% average annual growth from 2015 through 2019.

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