Contrary to expectations, the US labor market was hot in 2023. In the market, which has shown signs of cooling in recent months, projections for 2024 point to a tougher atmosphere.

According to the information compiled by, a relatively more challenging environment awaits US residents who want to change jobs in 2024.

Finding a job will become harder

According to Business Insider's Madison Hoff, economic experts predict that the US will experience a more cautious, competitive and selective labor market in 2024. People had a relatively harder time finding work in 2023, especially after a hot labor market the year before. People also claimed that the 'Great Resignation' was over in 2023 and did not prefer this path. In 2024, it may be even harder for people to find work, depending on their industry and the size of the company they are interested in.

"The job market is currently showing signs of stabilization, but we expect employers to continue to be cautious when hiring in 2024," says Kory Kantenga, senior economist at LinkedIn.

Outlook and prospects

It remains to be seen how the slowing job market in 2023 will evolve in 2024. Job opportunities were already declining in 2023. According to data from January through October, there were fewer total job openings in the US in 2023 compared to 2022.

Still, the economy added jobs throughout 2023, including 199,000 in November. The unemployment rate remained low throughout the year, despite some small fluctuations. Despite concerns about some layoffs at the beginning of the year, which were concentrated in the technology sector, the layoff rate remained around 1 percent throughout the year.

Kantenga says there could be a more competitive job market in 2024 as a result of fewer job openings and higher search intensity among job seekers.

Nick Bunker, director of North American economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, said the latest job market data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is "fairly consistent with a cautiously optimistic outlook" for 2024. He adds that many of the current trends are still in place, which is encouraging for continued strength in the labor market in 2023, especially in the second half of the year.

The latest Fed forecasts for December show that the average voting Federal Open Market Committee member expects the unemployment rate to be 4.1 percent in 2024, up from 3.7 percent in November 2023. This also corresponds to the projection for 2025 and 2026.

Impact on recession probability

Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer at Independent Advisor Alliance, says: "The second half of 2024 will largely depend on the job market and inflation. If they both stay on the path they are on now, i.e. unemployment stays low and inflation continues to fall slowly, then we could be out of recession in the second half."

"Going into 2024, I think there is a bit more cautious optimism about the possibility of a soft landing," said Glassdoor Economist Daniel Zhao. "I expect to see employers start to open up hiring again, especially as new budgets are set in the new year," Zhao adds.

Small companies and certain industries will continue hiring

In the interview, Zhao says that healthcare, government and education are areas of the labor market where hiring is strong and should continue to be so. Zhao also points out that people may have skills that are transferable between different sectors, so job seekers will not need to segregate themselves into existing sectors. However, Zhao also emphasizes that in general, finding the desired job can be difficult. Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, also notes that 'employers will be more selective' and 'will target those who fully meet their expectations'.

However, Kantenga believes that there are still job opportunities, especially outside of large companies. "While hiring has been steadily declining overall, there are definitely bright spots in the job market, and there are opportunities if you know where to look. For example, we know that most large companies have pulled back on hiring in the last year, but medium and small companies have not retreated from the market to the same extent."

In addition, Kantenga thinks there may be opportunities for people to move within their current places of employment. "One of the trends we see and expect to continue in 2023 is that companies are choosing to fill open positions with existing employees rather than opening them up to external candidates. In our research on LinkedIn, we found that recruiters expect a greater focus on employee retention and internal mobility over the next few years.