Feature

Workplace

The job market tightens

Most U.S. employers don’t plan to cut jobs in the first quarter of this year, said Barbara Hagenbaugh and Barbara Hansen in USA Today. Then again, most won’t be adding new positions, either. “The job market continues to slowly but steadily downshift,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. The net effect will be a weaker job market for most sectors in 2008—but not all. Manufacturing “has pockets that are still good,” says Jack Hull, manager of Hull Precision Machining in Spencerville, Ind. “We’re trying to tip-toe through that minefield to stay with the healthy sectors.”

Don’t fret over predictions of a slower job market for the year ahead, said Andrea Coombes in Marketwatch.com. “At the same time, workers always should be prepared for things to change, even if their current position and job-market outlook appear rosy.” The best defense is to “know why you matter,” says Cincinnati-based career consultant Andrea Kay. Keep detailed notes of your work accomplishments, which will come in handy if and when you have to rewrite your résumé or sell yourself in a job interview. And never pass on the chance to acquire new skills. “Continued learning is an absolute must,” Kay says.

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