Published On: Mon, Feb 20th, 2017

227,000 Jobs Added in January, Accounting Jobs Decline

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth to start the 2017 year remains strong. The report finds that 227,000 jobs were added in January despite the unemployment rate increasing to 4.8%, up just a tenth of a percentage point on the month.

People are returning to the workforce in higher numbers, but bookkeeping and accounting services fell on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

Professional and technical services employment grew by 23,000 in January, with computer system design professionals enjoying 13,000 jobs added. Accounting and bookkeeping jobs suffered a 7,100 loss on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

photo: photologue_np via Flickr

Accounting firms add additional staff and CPA during the tax season to help alleviate tax preparation during the busy time of year.

Store closures and layoffs didn’t impact the financial, construction and retail sectors. Employment increases in all three sectors remained strong despite slumping retail sales at many big chain stores, including Macy’s and Sears.

President Donald Trump took credit for the strong job performance, stating, “227,000 jobs, great spirit in the country right now.  So we’re very happy about that. I think that it’s going to continue big league. We’re bringing back jobs, we’re bringing down your taxes. We’re getting rid of your regulations. And I think it’s going to be some really very exciting times ahead.”

Small businesses rely on accounting professionals to provide fast and accurate accounting needs. Speed remains the top priority for companies, leading to automation being implemented into many operations. Automation is partially to blame for the lull in accounting and bookkeeping job growth.

The move to automation hasn’t led to small businesses trusting automation. Only 10% of small business owners trust automated accounting methods to do their accounting.

Backend systems are alleviating many of the bookkeeping tasks of accountants, leading to less job demand. Online systems are allowing many accountants to boost their performance, reduce time spent on a single client and work more efficiently with less need to take on new accountants.

Professionals affirm that a lack of talent in the accounting field is also harming the industry. A talent shortage requires current accountants to remain very competitive. Private sector gains in accounting are a bright spot, with small and medium-sized entities requiring more accountants. Freezes within the government are to blame for the drop in accounting positions, according to industry insiders.

The small and medium business sectors provide the strongest potential for job growth in the accounting field.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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