Are more people getting fired – or hired? A look into the confusing job market landscape

It seems like the job market is all over the place.

There are headlines about thousands of workers being laid off from major technology companies.

And then there are those touting the low number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

Boston 25 asked people in downtown Boston how they feel about the job market today.

One investment executive said it’s still hard for companies to find people.

Another man told us he’s feeling good about the current status.

One woman said she thinks the announcements by some companies are “kind of troubling”.

In recent days, titans like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Wayfair, and Salesforce have laid off tens of thousands of workers.

Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at, said, “everybody’s trying to figure out what the next normal is and I think you have to sort of view the situation as one that remains somewhat uncertain.”

Hamrick isn’t surprised large tech companies are pulling back after experiencing such a huge boom during the pandemic, when Zoom became part of our work vocabulary and shoppers were buying everything from paperclips to peppers online.

He said by historical standards, today’s circumstances are still pretty rosy.

“You look at the Boston area with the most recent unemployment rate at 2.7%. A lot of the country would be jealous to have that,” explained Hamrick. “National unemployment is at 3.5%, matching a historical low.”

But with Bankrate analysts rating the chances of a recession more likely than not, Hamrick said, “I think we’re still in a situation where there is some risk to the unemployment rising further.”

This air of uncertainty is paralyzing some companies, making them afraid of bringing on new workers.

Bill Driscoll, Senior District President for Robert Half Inc., said many companies aren’t feeling bullish enough to go out and add staff.

Instead, they’re resorting to something known as a “quiet hiring.”

“It’s kind of a new term that’s been coined, looking at adding responsibilities to existing employees,” he said.

Driscoll says workers might get annoyed being asked to do more or move into another area of responsibility, but that this can also be a growth opportunity for a worker over the long run.

He says the first thing to do is have a talk with a manager if you’re concerned about any changes, especially before any resentment can build.

“I absolutely think there are tremendous opportunities for workers to shine right now, to take on more responsibility to demonstrate their ability to do more, to show they’re team players and help navigate these uncertain times,” Driscoll said.

Another change in the workforce has to do with remote job opportunities.

Hamrick said that the number of people seeking remote work now far exceeds what companies are offering.

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