2008 outlook: The job market

Expect a mixed bag in the job market. Although companies are expected to be more cautious about hiring, no one is predicting widespread layoffs.

By Donna Rosato, Money Magazine senior writer

(NEW YORK) Money Magazine -- And while the pace of job creation is expected to slow, companies are still planning roughly the same salary increases as they offered this year, about 3.8 percent on average, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

But your job security and ability to snag a raise will depend a lot on your line of work.

Make money in 2008:
The entire outlook

If you're employed in a housing-related industry - which cuts a wide swath from mortgage bankers to construction workers to managers at Home Depot - holding on to your job may be a challenge, let alone negotiating a bump in your salary.

But if your job isn't directly linked to real estate - or for that matter, if you work in an area such as health care, hotels or education, where demand continues to exceed supply - then your job should be safe and you ought to be able to wangle a raise.

Be prepared to make a case for it though. Companies are increasingly allocating money for bonuses and other pay-forperformance programs.

So if you want to make more, you'll have to convince the boss that you've earned it.

The wild card: To date, the economy's been resilient enough to create jobs despite the drag of the housing slump.

But if the housing downturn worsens and starts pulling down other parts of the economy, slow job growth could turn into outright job losses.

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