Stay Informed: May 5, 2023 - Industry News and Updates for the week.

There was plenty of news this week relating to hiring, screening, hiring, and compliance. Here are three top stories you may have missed.

Job growth picks up again in April

Hiring defied expectations in April, picking up pace despite the Federal Reserve's attempts to cool the economy and decades-high inflation through interest-rate hikes. The U.S. added 253,000 jobs in April — 88,000 payrolls more than in March — pushing the unemployment rate back down to a 54 year-low of 3.4%. Still, new jobs fell short of the average monthly gain of 290,000 over the past six months. Other signs suggest the labor market is returning to its pre-pandemic norm: Job openings are declining, while labor force participation is back where it was in March 2020.

  • Wage gains also exceeded expectations in April, rising 0.5% instead of the 0.3% forecast, underscoring concerns about continued upward pressure on prices.
  • Unemployment among Black Americans hit a record low of 4.7% in April — and the gap between the jobless rates of white and Black Americans was the smallest ever.
  • Education and health led jobs growth, adding 77,000 jobs last month.

Read More: Job growth picks up again in April

Related: Consolidating screening vendors to reduce costs, hire faster, and build efficiency

Artificial Intelligence Is Already Causing Disruption And Job Losses At IBM And Chegg

IBM’s Hiring Freeze on Roles That AI Can Replace - New York-based International Business Machines Corp. CEO Arvind Krishna announced it would pause hiring for roles that can be replaced by artificial intelligence. Functions, including administrative-oriented back office roles and human resources, are targeted. Krishna points out that the tech company has around 26,000 workers that are not client-facing, and about 30%— representing 7,800 people— could be displaced through attrition due to AI over the next five years. IBM boasts 260,000 workers and will keep hiring for software development and customer-facing roles.

On the positive side, Goldman Sachs contends automation creates innovation, leading to new jobs. For companies, there will be cost savings thanks to AI. They can deploy their resources toward building and growing businesses, ultimately increasing annual global GDP by 7%.

Read More: Artificial Intelligence Is Already Causing Disruption And Job Losses At IBM And Chegg (

Related: Why now is a great time to rethink and optimize your HR strategy

DOT expands drug testing options to include oral fluid

The Department of Transportation on Monday filed a Final Rule that will allow oral fluid as an authorized testing method for the presence of unlawful drugs. The 227-page final rule is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register May 2 and will become effective 30 days later.  

In order for an employer to implement oral fluid testing under DOT's regulation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will need to certify at least two laboratories for oral fluid testing, which has not yet been done. In essence, the DOT on Monday cleared a regulatory hurdle that allows for oral fluid testing, but those tests are not yet authorized until HHS makes its certifications.

The measure comes as the number of drivers flagged for drug infractions continues to climb at a break-neck pace. As of January 1 last year, 81,052 professional drivers were in Prohibited Status with FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse with a violation. A year later that number reached 120,345, and less than nine weeks ago was at 125,810. 

Oral fluid collection mitigates cheating since the test is administered face-to-face, usually with a sample collector swabbing inside the cheek of an applicant, and the DOT contends "adding oral fluid testing as an option is consistent with the careful balancing of an individual’s right to privacy with the Department’s strong interest in preserving transportation safety by deterring illicit drug use."

Read More: DOT expands drug testing options to include oral fluid

Related: NOTICE: Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs: Addition of Oral Fluid Specimen Testing for Drugs (