Carrier CEO David Gitlin has noticed a shift in the jobs market in recent months as the Federal Reserve slams the brakes on the economy and recession fears mount.
“It’s become easier to recruit and retain talent than a year ago,” Gitlin told CNN on Friday by phone after meeting with President Joe Biden and other business leaders at the White House.
That would mark a shift from the recent worker shortage that hit manufacturers like Carrier and most other businesses.
The number of job openings in the United States has fallen from the recent peak, though this indicator of labor demand remains at high levels. Yet at the same time, the tech sector has been hit by tens of thousands of layoffs in recent weeks, including at Amazon, Lyft and Facebook parent Meta.
Gitlin, whose company makes air conditioning, heating and refrigeration systems, said the jobs market remains pretty hot historically.
“It is still a tight labor market. There is still a competition for talent,” he said. “There is still a challenge in some cases to recruit and retain highly skilled talent in some of our factories.”
Carrier has sought to reposition itself from traditional manufacturing to a provider of cold chain and intelligent building solutions — an evolution that Gitlin says helps when it comes to attracting talent from tech companies and elsewhere.
“It’s helped move us up the line,” he said.
Gitlin said Carrier plans to continue to hire — its headcount is up by about 20% over the past two years — but it may also slim down in other areas through layoffs.
“We will always be very aggressive on cost cutting,” he said. “We will be aggressive as we go into next year on all things [expenses] and that will include some reductions in some areas where it makes sense.”
Gitlin said Carrier is “very sober” about the risks going forward, adding there is “no question” economies will slow going forward.
The Carrier boss is encouraged, however, by billions of dollars of consumer incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act that are designed to boost demand for energy-efficient appliances like heat pumps and water heaters.
Carrier said the energy-efficiency push will help the fight against climate change, while simultaneously boosting companies like his.