CEOs were asked: The Wall Street Journal recently published an article stating that the job market is now “as good as it gets.” Do you agree with this sentiment? Why or why not?
Agreed! Our Business Intelligence Division tracks unemployment, business failures and closures. Many retailers have announced third and fourth quarter closures. Soon, the unemployment figures will reflect those industry closures and layoffs. Rising interest rates are not helping either and cost centers built into businesses are seeing price increases at the wholesale level. Then you have a talent issue followed by an older workforce complaining that they cannot find gainful employment right now. Our fear is, will there be a slow and gradual downtrend or a return to recession that could last for a couple of years?
Jim Angleton, CEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.
The job market is strong in South Florida, and I can see it keeping this momentum in the year ahead. With a regional unemployment rate of just under 4 percent, we need to continue to promote opportunities and attract companies to the region. At Cleveland Clinic Florida, we just came off a robust year of growth, and we anticipate another year of hiring to meet the growing demand for our services.
Wael Barsoum, M.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida
The job market is tight, which is good for employees, but places additional burdens on employers. We have responded to the challenge by providing programs and incentives that reduce turnover and the need to recruit additional employees. We make Ocean Bank “a great place to work,” not just through salary, but through advancement opportunities, training, corporate wellness programs and other initiatives.
Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank
I disagree. Not until the job market offers everyone equal access to equal pay, will it be “as good as it gets.” Currently, in Miami, women earn an average of 14.2 percent less than men. This is not “as good as it gets.” This is unacceptable. Even more unacceptable is that the gender pay gap has grown over the past 10 years — from 13.9 percent in 2007 to 14.2 percent in 2017. Women across social-economic levels are losing ground in the fight for pay equity — women with less than a high school diploma are earning 31.2 percent less than their male counterparts; the gap between women and men with graduate or professional degrees is 29.8 percent. While unemployment rates may be at an all-time low, this is only one metric to gauge the health of the job market. Until the job market provides equal access with equal pay, there will always be room for improvement.
Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida
No, I do not agree with that statement. In almost anything we do, there is room for improvement. Even though the unemployment rate is at a historic low, there are still millions of people not working and a plethora of low paying jobs that keep low-income individuals working two jobs or welfare dependent. As we celebrate this job market, we should also focus on areas of growth, i.e., training, development, and higher education that would yield higher wages and allow more people to maintain a comfortable lifestyle rather than consistently living from paycheck to paycheck.
Dorcas L. Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services
Whether the job market is “as good as it gets” depends on who is considered. There are numerous ZIP codes within South Florida with unemployment rates far above the regional averages, and I would suggest that the economy is not “as good as it gets” for many residents of these ZIP codes. I would further suggest that there are employers in numerous industries (aviation for example) who struggle to find the talent to satisfy their industry demand, and thus they can clearly see that they have further upside and the economy is not “as good as it gets” for them, either. Accordingly, Broward College continues to aggressively strive to ensure that those seeking workforce opportunities have the skills to seize the opportunities that are available in high-demand industries.
Gregory Adam Haile, president of Broward College
Thankfully, we have enjoyed one of the longest economic recovery and boom cycles in history — and it is continuing, with South Florida leading the way. There are no guarantees, and no one knows when this cycle will end. There really have been no significant signs of a slowdown, and the job market continues to expand. Despite that, there is a lot of talk about a slowdown and my concern is that we may talk ourselves into one, even if the fundamentals remain solid.
Jorge Gonzalez, president and CEO, City National Bank
We have certainly seen an increase in employment rates and labor participation. It remains difficult to find qualified technology talent, and labor participation overall has room to grow.
Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO, of Black Dragon Capital
By the numbers, the February United States unemployment rate of 3.8 percent and the January Florida unemployment rate of 3.4 percent are very positive and close to 40-year lows. I remain hopeful that the average wage rates will continue to increase and that the percentage of “new economy” jobs will continue to grow as well.
Paul Singerman, co-chair of Berger Singerman
In my opinion, the job market is as good as it can get simply because we have surpassed an equilibrium point of jobs versus people in the workforce looking for jobs. Meaning, there are more jobs than qualified people looking for those jobs. Just like in supply side economic theories, when demand surpasses supply, prices go up. In this case, prices are equal to wages. When capitalistic societies work without government influences or interference, then they work well, and in this case, it creates an unemployment scenario which is as good as it can get.
James “Jimmy” Tate, co-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital; co-founder of Tate Development Corp.
The history of the labor market refers to the supply and demand for labor, in which employees provide the supply and employers the demand. The job market can grow or shrink depending on the demand for labor and the available supply of workers within the overall economy. Based upon this fact, it can be argued that the job market will never see a moment where it is “as good as it gets.” The job market in America is a direct reflection of where the economy is and where it is headed in the future. As technology changes, the world around it has to also change. The job market is influenced by the level of education, population and available openings. The United States of America is a hub of talent. For this reason, many organizations have identified America as the ideal place to recruit talent and grow their brands
Rashad D. Thomas, vice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee
THE MIAMI HERALD CEO ROUNDTABLE IS A WEEKLY FEATURE THAT APPEARS IN BUSINESS MONDAY OF THE MIAMI HERALD. RECENT QUESTIONS HAVE INCLUDED