RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Looking at 15 different local or regional job board sites for “startup” jobs, the exclusive WRAL TechWire Jobs Report showed 7,570 openings (not accounting for duplications in postings) this week, a slight increase from last week’s previous all-time low.

Last week, numbers dipped below 8,000 for the first time since WRAL TechWire began tracking this data, and this week’s numbers aren’t much better.

For a closer look at what these numbers mean for startups, WRAL TechWire spoke with Brandon Stevens, a Triangle-based serial entrepreneur and CEO of the AI-backed hiring tool Scoutr.

Stevens said that the recent September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, which shows a surprising surge in job numbers, doesn’t tell the whole story.

Pickings are getting slim: Tech job market ‘not what it was a year ago’

“Over half of the new jobs reported were in Government and Leisure/Hospitality (169,000),” Stevens told TechWire over email. “On the other hand, through nine months in 2023, there have been approximately 605,000 layoffs, which is a 198% increase from last year. This is the worst since the 2020 pandemic and the second-worst period since 2009 (according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas).”

Stevens also said that certain sectors are fairing better than others — and that tech is taking a hit.

“Technology, retail, and healthcare are by far the most affected,” said Stevens. “But, the number has declined by 37% from August to September, which are usually strong hiring months for businesses.”

Stevens, who founded Scoutr in 2018 and is on the board of directors with the NC Technology Association (NC TECH), also shared his outlook for the rest of the year.

“The short-term future looks bright, but it’s difficult to see what will happen in 2024, especially the second half,” said Stevens. “Regardless of many other leading economic indicators, the most recent US hiring numbers are relatively strong, especially in the IT sector and smaller- to medium-sized businesses. It’s hard to see past the next quarter, so Q1 and Q2 of 2024 will be interesting. Higher interest rates will continue to put pressure on companies, and this will almost certainly have a negative impact on employment over the next 12 months.”

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The looming threat of AI will impact marketing, finance, customer service, says startup CEO

Stevens is in the AI and startup space. His company, Scoutr, offers a hiring tool that matches candidates to companies using AI-based technology. And he says the threat of AI will soon have a real impact on more companies.

“With the advances of GPT 4 (including Chat GPT), the jobs at risk in the near term are marketing (research analysts, advertising, writing, and content creation),” said Stevens. “Others are financial analysts, advisors, traders, accountants, and customer service agents. You can currently train GPT-based chatbots to do a number of these tasks, and well.”

Stevens said that the effect on jobs will increase as the technology improves.

“The technology will only continue to improve, and we may see more technical jobs, including programmers, replaced,” said Stevens. “We’re not there yet, but that is coming and sooner than we think.”

Trends for ‘startup’ jobs in the Triangle

While this week’s startup job posting numbers inched up 2.6%, postings are 20.6% lower than this time last month and 65.1% lower than this time last year.

Here’s a look at the trend from the last 16 months:

Here are the numbers from all 15 different local or regional job board sites that we review weekly for WRAL TechWire’s exclusive Jobs Report for “startup” jobs:

Check back next week for an update on the WRAL TechWire jobs report.