Why businesses are still furiously hiring, even as a downturn looms

Should companies be hiring or firing? Demand for workers has roared back over the past two years. But labour supply has not kept pace, and shortages are pervasive. That means many firms need to hire. On the other hand, fears of recession are widespread. Some bosses suspect they already have too many workers. Mark Zuckerberg has told Facebook employees that “there are probably a bunch of people who shouldn’t be here”. Tim Cook, the head of Apple, takes the middle course. Apple will continue to hire “in areas”, he said recently, but he was “clear-eyed” about the risks to the economy.

For now the hirers are trumping the firers. Figures released on September 2nd show that American employers, excluding farms, added 315,000 workers to payrolls in August. The Jobs Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (jolts), released a few days earlier, found 11.2m job openings in July. America’s unemployment rate ticked up from a 50-year low of 3.5% to 3.7%, but only because of a sudden…

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This article was written by and originally published on www.economist.com