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BY Brock Dudley

Economic Outlook: Jan ’24 Career Conference

Happy New Year to everyone! Let’s talk about the economic outlook. We are 1 day away from kicking off our January 2024 Career Conference and I am here to shed some light on what we are expecting for the January 2024 Career Conference. I also want to touch on the current state of the economy as it pertains to the question: “Will this economy support my transition?”. The answer is YES, but only with the right plan, preparation, guidance, and coaching. Luckily enough, my colleagues Joel Junker and Pete Van-Epps recently recorded a 2023 Year End podcast that touched on this amongst other topics such as the DoD SkillBridge Program and Certifications.


2023 Review  

There was a rapid cooling of the Economy in 2023 and we certainly experienced headwinds. The Labor Market suffered as the Federal Reserve increased interest rates. We felt the tightening of the market with the rubber band effect in 2020 and into 2021, followed by an economic explosion in 2022, and then in 2023 a rapid move back to the middle coupled with higher-than-normal inflation and interest rates. What made 2023 so tough was how quickly it changed. The bar went higher, and companies were screening tighter and being more selective. What I find fascinating is that we saw an average of 7-10 interviews per Officer at our 2023 Conferences, which is a good number. This is a testament to the leadership experience the JMO has. Companies value this leadership advantage, and they are looking for leaders to step in immediately, solve problems, and bring value to the organization.

2024 Economic Outlook

No one knows where the Economy is going. It’s impossible to predict. For most of 2023, we were expecting a recession, but we never entered one. All we have are indicators and all of these indicators are out of our control. What I will say about the Economy is we expect a tight economy again in 2024 and for the bar to be high! Some signs point towards the Economy moving in the right direction.  The Fed has said they plan to lower interest rates three times in 2024 and three more times in 2025. Interest rates haven’t hiked since July 2023 and the first reduction in rates would be this March ideally, so that is a positive sign! Labor conditions are moderating, but still tight.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal said economists don’t expect the U.S. to enter recession territory in 2024 but expect it to feel like one. Economists are predicting only 1% GDP Growth and adding only 64,000 jobs per month in 2024 which is significantly lower than the average over the last 2 years. Unemployment is expected to rise from 3.7% all the way up to 4.3% by the end of 2024 which will essentially net zero. Another recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed post-M.B.A. graduates struggling to find jobs as they entered the market when sectors such as Tech, Finance, and Consulting hit economic downturns. Indicators are pointing every which way.

Is now a good time to transition? If so, how?

I would tell you, yes, but because of the economic outlook, expect a high bar in 2024. I encourage you to start preparing for the transition early. In fact, my words of encouragement are not enough. You must do these things and that starts with reading. Read, read, read. Subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, read Forbes, buy business books, and learn more about the Economy. Watch YouTube videos and read up on Lean Six Sigma, Project Management, Excel, Java, Access, Pivot Tables, Python, R, C++, etc. and think about experiences or accomplishments you had in the military that relate to these.

Truly, everyone is looking for 4 things: Great Job, Great Company, Great Location, and Great Money. I am here to tell you that you should! But just like investing, you must put money aside every month, so you have more later on down the road. Watch it grow and compound. The same approach is required with your career. Sometimes you have to put something aside so that you can launch your business career and get into a company where you become part of succession planning for future leadership roles in that company or industry. If you are ambitious and want to be a developmental candidate, we encourage you to not put aside roles that fit your skillset, are aligned with your values and passions, and have the right culture fit for you. Titles, compensation, and increased responsibilities will come. They actually tend to come quicker to Officers who make the transition out in economies like this.

We at Cameron-Brooks believe that the transition out of the military starts with getting off active duty and ends with a very strong JMO transitioning from being a leader in the service to being a leader in business and part of a company’s succession planning process. Never forget, it’s competitive! There are many sharp young business leaders outside of the military who are pursuing the same upward path.

Now to what you’ve all been waiting for. Here is a quick sampling of what we have in store for the January candidates.

Sample Industries Include:

Robotics; Alternative Energy; Medical Devices; Heavy Machinery; Semiconductors; Healthcare; Professional Services; Communications; Building Materials; Communications; Specialty Vehicles; and many more.

Sample Positions Include:

Business Analyst/Project Management; Senior Financial Analyst; Account Manager; Field Sales Associate; Senior Supplier Quality Engineer; Maintenance Supervisor; Purchasing Manager; Project Engineer; Clinical Territory Associate; Project Development Manager; Automation General Manager; Six Sigma Black Belt; Maintenance & Reliability Engineer; Operations Manager; Sr. Account Manager; Engineering Manager; Business Development Manager; and many more.

If you are considering making the transition in 2024, don’t let the economic outlook keep you from getting started. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss your options. Cameron-Brooks has a 50-year track record of doing this. No strings attached, no pressure.

Stay tuned for our Post-January 2024 Career Conference results! We will be back in two weeks.

Brock Dudley

Principal, Transition Coach


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