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Monster hiring report: December 2020 snapshot

Monster hiring report: December 2020 snapshot

The year is winding down, and so is the labor market. While the U.S. Bureau of Statistics reported positive economic growth last month, this month it has slowed considerably. According to the November BLS report, employment increased by 245,000 in November, compared to 610,000 (revised) jobs in October and even greater job gains in the months prior.

Bear in mind that this end-of-year slowdown is to be expected, as the last couple months of the year are traditionally a slow time for the job market. As we reported in Monster’s annual end-of-year hiring report last year, November is the slowest month for job searching, followed closely by December. Couple that with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, and we will be going at tortoise-speed as we race toward the 2020 finish line.

Nevertheless, the job market is expanding, and that is something to be grateful for in these unprecedented times. Here are some of the industries having big impacts right now.

Holiday shopping (and hiring) moves online

It’s been a tough year, but even a global pandemic won’t put a damper on holiday spirit – which means shopping and a still robust  seasonal hiring outlook for this year. The National Retail Federation expects consumers to spend more than anticipated, in part to reward themselves and their families for surviving such a difficult year.

With social distancing measures in place, though, many traded in the madness of Black Friday for the safety of Cyber Monday—a trend that is projected to continue throughout the holiday shopping season. The NRF expects online holiday sales to increase between 20% and 30% (that’s between $202.5 billion and $218.4 billion) this year, up from $168.7 billion last year.

As a result of this surge in online holiday shopping, the transportation and warehousing job market has exploded with holiday cheer. With job gains of 145,000, this sector experienced the most growth last month, according to the BLS. On Monster, some of the top job postings right now are for laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, industrial truck and tractor operators, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, packers, and package handlers. In fact, new job ads posted for light truck and delivery services drivers have increased 8% month-over-month.

These increases in transportation and warehousing, coupled with declines in brick and mortar retail (-35,000) per the BLS, further prove that holiday shopping has largely moved online—and job seekers are taking notice. Some of the top job searches conducted on Monster over the past month include warehouse worker, package handler, driver, driver helper, delivery driver, warehouse manager, and truck driver.

Hiring shortages plague healthcare sector

We saw healthcare staffing shortages skyrocket at the beginning of the pandemic back in April and May, and now those urgent healthcare staffing needs are surging again, as hospitals in at least 25 states are in critical need of doctors, nurses and other staff.

At Monster, this trend is clear, as we’ve seen the need for nurses and other healthcare workers increase dramatically on Monster over this past month. Our data shows that job postings for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (LNPs and LVNs) increased 51% month-over-month. Meanwhile, job ads increased 20% month-over-month for occupational health and safety specialists, 18% for registered nurses, and 14% for nursing assistants.

Meanwhile, from the job seeker front, we have also seen rising job searches for medical assistant, LPN, nurse practitioner, and registered nurse positions, too. The question, though, begs, will there be enough candidates to meet the demand?

According to the BLS, healthcare employment rose by 46,000 last month, with notable gains in offices of physicians, home health care services, and offices of other health practitioners. While this number is fewer than what’s been reported in previous months, Monster data shows that both hiring and job searching across industries tends to pick up at the start of the year in January.

Hiring continues to build in construction

Over the past few months, hiring in construction has been steadily building month over month. This past month was no different as the sector continues to make strides toward its pre-pandemic levels. Construction has proven to be one of the better performing sectors of the economy, credited in part to the safety precautions the industry has taken, according to Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors told Contractor Magazine, “Construction has generally done a good job of taking measures to protect its workers from the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace,” he said in a recent interview.

These precautions, along with a booming housing market, have laid the groundwork for solid job growth in the sector. According to the BLS report, construction added 27,000 jobs last month, 14,000 of which were for residential specialty trade contractors. Looking ahead, Dodge Data & Analytics predicts that “construction employment should remain somewhat resilient.”

At Monster, we’ve seen increases in both companies hiring and workers searching for gainful employment in construction over the past month. Some of the top jobs in demand include construction laborers and managers, operating engineers, and construction equipment managers. Likewise, “construction,” “construction superintendent,” and “construction project manager” are some of the top keywords being searched on Monster.

Manufacturing seeks to fill supply chain with skilled workers

It’s been an uphill battle for hiring in manufacturing as manufacturers looking to rebuild teams and keep production moving amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent statement, Timothy Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said “Companies and suppliers continue to operate in reconfigured factories, but absenteeism, short-term shutdowns to sanitize facilities and difficulties in returning and hiring workers are causing strains that will likely limit future manufacturing growth potential.”

Despite these challenges, though, the search for skilled assemblers, machinists, inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers has persisted on Monster. Similarly, the BLS reported solid growth, with 27,000 manufacturing jobs gained in November.

From the candidate perspective, Monster data shows that many are eager to get back to work, as the sector remains 599,000 jobs short of where it was pre-COVID. “Manufacturing,” “welding,” “manufacturing engineer,” “CNC machinist,” “production manager,” and “machine operator” have been some of the top positions searched on Monster consistently over the past few months.

While COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty to the job market, Monster aims to provide employers with the insight needed to move forward. As you plan your hiring strategy over the next month, see how Monster can help you navigate the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic at your organization.