Monthly Jobs Report: Monster’s Hiring Snapshot

We layered Monster job numbers with data from the newest BLS monthly jobs report to help employers navigate the current hiring landscape. Here's what you need to know.

After a rainy April, the job market blossomed in May with gains of 272,000, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 4% — the highest it’s been since January 2022 but still remaining relatively low. Below, we shared our breakdown of these job numbers along with key takeaways to help employers plan for the months ahead.

Skills-Focused Labor Demands

Last month’s job gains were concentrated to just a few sectors, most notably healthcare, government, and professional, scientific, and technical services. “The increase in job creation, particularly in sectors like healthcare and technical services, is evidence of the continued strong demand for workers with sector-specific skills,” says Monster Economist Giacomo Santangelo. “Increasing unemployment could be due to various factors, most notably mismatches in skills and job requirements.”

As the skills gap grows, Monster’s 2024 Work Watch report identified improving the success rate on hard-to-fill roles as one of employers’ top priorities this year. This will be crucial as labor demands continue to increase with Monster’s total active job postings up 11% in May, following a 6% increase in April. Santangelo says, “Employers can engage better with candidates by catering more toward transitioning candidate preferences for things like flexible hours and remote work (“work from home” remains the #1 search on Monster), by being more transparent about the application process, and by investing in training and development to bridge the skills gap and attract candidates seeking growth opportunities.”

Aggressive Wage Gains Heading Into Summer

As employers strive to attract talent amid a tight labor market and rising inflation, employee pay continued to increase in May. According to the BLS monthly jobs report, average hourly wages doubled from the month prior, up 14 cents (0.4%) and increasing 4.1% over the past year.

As long as unemployment remains low and hiring continues to expand, experts suggest that employers may need to keep checkbooks open this summer. “Higher wages can attract and retain top talent in a labor market that continues to tighten,” Santangelo says. “Increased wages may also enhance employee morale and productivity, which are both crucial in a competitive market.”

Teens Hard at Work This Summer

For teens, or those ages 16 through 19, this summer is all about work, work, work, and employers hiring should take notice. According to the BLS monthly jobs report, teen labor force participation increased from 36.8% to 38.1% year-over-year. Not to mention, candidate searches for “part-time” jobs was #4 overall in May on Monster.

“The increase in teen employment this May compared to last year could be attributed to many teens taking part-time jobs to help their families cover daily costs as inflation continues to impact household budgets,” Santangelo says. “This, combined with the desire among Gen Z to gain work experience and the availability of summer jobs, contributed to the higher employment rates among teens.”

Healthcare Hiring Persists Amid Labor Shortages

Leading the way in hiring for the fourth month in a row, healthcare added 68,000 jobs in May amid ongoing labor shortages. While this may seem like a strong number in other sectors, there are still about 3.5 million active healthcare positions available on Monster alone, a 15% increase from the month prior. Job postings for registered nurses remain #1 overall on site, while other top open positions include:

  • Physical therapists (#5 overall)
  • Critical care nurses (#7 overall)
  • Medical and health services managers (#9 overall)
  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (#10 overall)

“The persistent demand for healthcare professionals, particularly registered nurses, highlights the critical labor shortages in the healthcare sector,” Santangelo says. “The consistent hiring surge, with 68,000 jobs added in May, signals a robust need for healthcare services and an industry grappling with staffing challenges.”

For employers hiring, here’s where job seekers are currently focusing their efforts within healthcare:

  • Registered nurses
  • Medical assistants
  • Phlebotomists

Projected Growth in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Employment surged within the professional, scientific, and technical services sector with gains of 32,000 in May, a 168% increase from its monthly average. Within the sector, growth was seen primarily in management, scientific, and technical consulting services, a subsector that’s projected to grow 13.5% through 2031. Gains were also seen in architectural, engineering, and related services, which also saw a 9% monthly increase in active job postings on Monster for positions, including:

  • Engineers
  • Civil engineers
  • Validation engineers

Shifts Happening in Restaurant Hiring

With inflation at a high 3.4% — and rising heading into summer — consumers have begun to adjust spending habits by dining out less and opting for cheaper, fast-food meals. As a result, Santangelo expects the restaurant industry, particularly fast-food restaurants, to experience several shifts when it comes to hiring, pay, and retention.

“With the imminent price war among fast-food restaurants and consumers opting for more affordable dining options, we can expect fast-food chains to continue hiring to meet the demand,” he says. “Wage increases may flatten or slow down as fast-food places fight to keep costs low amidst the price war. Retention efforts will likely intensify with restaurants focusing on employee engagement and satisfaction to reduce turnover, which is traditionally high in this industry.” Meanwhile, he says, hiring may not be as aggressive in casual dining due to reduced consumer spending.

So far, hiring within the restaurant industry as a whole remains solid after reaching its pre-pandemic employment level in March, followed by the addition of 25,000 payrolls in May. While Monster job numbers support continued growth with a 17% increase in hiring, our data shows where employers are currently looking to fill their labor needs. Top jobs hiring include:

  • Cooks
  • Combined food prep and serving workers (including fast food)
  • Hosts and hostesses

As restaurants seek to not only attract job seekers, but also retain their existing workforce, candidate searches for restaurant-focused jobs ticked up 2% last month on Monster. Top job searches within the category include:

  • Server
  • Dishwasher
  • Bartender

Retailers Continue With Spring Hiring Spree

It’s been a busy spring for retail hiring. Following a combined 39,000 payrolls added in March and April, retailers added another 13,000 jobs to the economy in May. However, similar to the restaurant industry, retail growth isn’t being spread evenly across the board as inflationary pressures are likely impacting consumer spending and causing many to focus their spending on essential goods. This is reflected in BLS job numbers as losses were seen in department stores (-5,000) and furniture retailers (-4,000), while seasonality spurred growth for building material and garden equipment supplies dealers (+12,000) last month.

Stay Tuned for the Next Monthly Jobs Report

Monster aims to provide employers with the insight needed to move forward. As you plan your hiring strategy over the next month, check out Monster’s 2024 Work Watch report for the latest hiring trends and insights.

We’ll see you here again in July when we will release our next take on the monthly jobs report.