The U.S. economy last year added more than 2 million jobs, and 2017 should be an even better year for job seekers. Wages are poised to move higher, too.
Employers expanded their payrolls by 156,000 in December following an upwardly revised November gain of 204,000, according to the Labor Department. The labor force also grew, sending the unemployment rate a tick higher to 4.7 percent, while wages climbed 2.9 percent year over year, the biggest increase since 2008.
The jobs outlook for this year appears to be even rosier, according to a new survey of employers from CareerBuilder, with hiring prospects at their best in a decade. Forty-percent of employers are planning to hire full-time workers over the next 12 months, while 30 percent plan to add part-timers. Half of employers intend to bring temporary or contract workers on board during the year.
They are willing to pay more, too. Two-thirds of employers expect to increase salaries on initial job offers, with 30 percent of them planning to increase by 5 percent or more. And almost half of companies plan to increase their minimum wage, some by $3 (44 percent) and others by $5 or more (20 percent).
Information technology, customer service, production, sales and administrative positions are the hottest areas for new jobs. CareerBuilder recommends that job seekers emphasize their soft skills in interviews such as positive attitude, dependability or teamwork--and beef up their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook skills. Almost two-thirds of employers expect workers in many job functions to have some familiarity with social media.
Relevant experience is not necessary, either--a big plus for new job seekers, those out of the workforce for a while and career changers. More than half of employers said they are willing to train inexperienced workers and hire them this year.
CareerBuilder surveyed 2,391 hiring managers and human resources professionals across industries and company sizes.