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U.S. Labor Market Continues to Stabilize

Appcast, the global leader in recruitment marketing technology and services, unveils the findings of its eighth annual “Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report.” Downloaded by nearly 7,000 talent acquisition professionals last year, the annual report examines 2023 job ad data from more than 1,300 employers in the U.S. The report findings are based on an analysis of 379 million job ad clicks and 30.5 million applies.  

According to Appcast’s team of labor economists, the U.S. economy is currently on track to achieve the Federal Reserve’s goal of a “soft landing.” The U.S. avoided a recession in 2023, while high interest rates and market forces cooled inflation. Meanwhile, the labor market remained strong (very low unemployment, strong labor supply), but not as “hot” as seen in previous years. This happened for a variety of reasons.  

  • Employer demand for workers cooled as interest rates increased and the economic outlook became less certain. The same decline can also be said for both employee attrition and the number of available job postings.  
  • Labor supply experienced a significant rebound last year, led by an uptick in both the female and immigrant workforce.  
  • Turnover reduced, the Great Resignation ended, and wage growth slowed accordingly.  

One of the most significant outcomes of the cooling labor market is that talent acquisition teams will be able to stretch their budgets further, enabling recruiters to get more “bang for their buck” in a market that while cooler, is still “tight” by historical standards. 

  • The number of clicks and applications per job posting increased, ending the year with an average of 4.48 clicks and 0.7 applies per job, respectively, showing a larger supply of job seekers.  
  • The median cost-per-click (CPC) for a job ad continued to decline in 2023. By the end of the year, the median CPC hit a new low of $0.85, compared to $1.07 in 2022 and $1.10 in 2021.  
  • The median apply rate increased 22.5% from 2022. Apply rate is defined as the number of people who send an application after having clicked on a job ad, represented as a percentage.  
  • The median cost-per-application fell to $19.40 by the end of 2023, down 29.6% when compared to 2022.  

The report provides actionable advice for employers to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness from recruiting marketing efforts while optimizing budgets, including detailed metrics on job seeker activities by state, job-function-specific graphs and data, the current breakdown of desktop versus mobile apply rates, and insights on when job seekers are more likely to be applying for jobs.  

“If you’re in talent acquisition, the past few years have likely felt like a rollercoaster ride,” says Heather Salerno, chief marketing officer at Appcast. “For the first time since the pandemic, recruiters are finally seeing signs of relief. We seem to be shifting away from one of the most turbulent labor markets we have seen in decades and experiencing lower costs and better outcomes when it comes to recruiting. Appcast’s annual report empowers employers with data to drive strategic conversations, achieve greater recruiting efficiencies, and benchmark performance among peers.”  

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