Monthly Jobs Report: Monster’s Hiring Snapshot

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

Despite high interest rates and inflation, job growth continued to accelerate in March with gains of 303,000  — the best job numbers in almost a year — according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly jobs report. Adding to this growth and offering a positive snapshot into the months ahead, the number of active job postings increased on Monster as well, up 3% in March.

“The recent uptick of 3% in active job postings on throughout March offers a glimmer of hope for the job market’s trajectory,” Monster Economist Giacomo Santangelo says. “Yet, forecasting its future expansion necessitates a nuanced examination of various factors at play. Critical is the sway of consumer confidence and spending habits on job creation. The continuation of robust consumer spending could drive demand for goods and services, thus catalyzing hiring across diverse sectors of the economy; however, the pace of growth varies across industries. While sectors like retail, healthcare, and hospitality have witnessed notable rebounds, others may lag behind.”

Below, we shared our breakdown of the latest job numbers along with key takeaways to help employers plan for the months ahead.

Four Year Pandemiversary: Then and Now

Four years ago, the economy suffered a loss of nearly 20 million jobs with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, however, job growth is strong, proving resilient against high interest rates and inflation. After crunching job numbers, the economy has experienced positive job growth for 39 consecutive months since the pandemic, marking the fifth longest period of job expansion on record. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate — currently at 3.8% — has been below 4% for 26 months in a row, the longest streak since the late 1960s.


“The resilience of the job market amidst challenging economic conditions, including high inflation and elevated interest rates, stems from various factors,” Santangelo says. “Nevertheless, it’s imperative to recognize that disparities exist across industries, regions, and individual circumstances, with some facing greater challenges than others. Notably, sectors like technology and healthcare are driving strong demand for labor; however, a significant challenge lies in the skills gap across industries, where employers struggle to find workers with requisite qualifications, leading to intensified competition, increased wages, and enhanced job security for skilled workers.”

Healthcare Employment is Experiencing a Growth Spurt

The Covid-19 pandemic created rampant burnout within the healthcare industry, causing many to leave the profession in 2021 and 2022. However, starting in 2023, the reverse happened as the healthcare sector became a powerhouse for job creation with employment expanding by 3.9% — the fastest rate since 1991.

So far, this strong growth has continued in 2024 with the sector leading the way in hiring in the BLS monthly jobs report for the second month in a row. Accounting for nearly one-quarter of the overall gain in March, healthcare added 72,000 payrolls in ambulatory health care services, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities. Likewise, on Monster, the number of active healthcare job postings increased 6% month-over-month. Of the top healthcare jobs hiring, job postings for registered nurses remain #1 overall on site, while other top open positions include:

  • Critical care nurses (#6 overall)
  • Physical therapists (#8 overall)
  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (#10 overall)

“The healthcare industry’s accelerated job growth between 2021 and 2024 owes much to a combination of strategic initiatives and industry dynamics,” Santangelo says. “The continued integration of technology, particularly in healthcare services and technology businesses, has driven tangible benefits, fueling further growth. Also, the pandemic-driven pressure on the healthcare system prompted a surge in innovation. The multifaceted changes reshaped workforce dynamics emphasizing telehealth, gig economy roles, and strategic investments in ambulatory care services have collectively reversed negative trends and spurred robust job growth within the healthcare industry.”

Leisure and Hospitality Payrolls are Back to “Normal”

The leisure and hospitality sector was undoubtedly one of the hardest hit during much of the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to business shutdowns, travel restrictions, vaccine mandates, capacity limits, and supply shortages. Not to mention, high inflation soon followed, impacting consumer spending on nonessential activities like dining out, travel, and entertainment. As such, recovery efforts took a bit of time — four years, to be precise. However, with gains of 49,000 in March, employment within the leisure and hospitality sector finally returned to its February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

Looking ahead, Monster data shows continued growth within the category heading into spring. Over the past month, the number of active job postings increased 6% as employers hired for top positions, including:

  • Cooks
  • Combined food prep and serving workers
  • Waiters and waitresses

Meanwhile, job searches are trending up (+2%) within leisure and hospitality as well. Top job searches include:

  • Bartender
  • Cook
  • Dishwasher

Employment is Building in Nonresidential Construction

It’s finally spring, which means construction hiring is breaking ground across the country. Building on February’s 23,000 payrolls, the BLS monthly jobs report showed that another 39,000 were added to the economy in March, about 41% of which can be attributed to nonresidential construction.

And employers aren’t finished hiring just yet — with a 2% uptick in construction job postings on Monster over the past month, open positions still remain for:

  • Construction laborers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers

From a candidate standpoint, construction-related job searches for positions like electrician and general laborer went up 5% in March.

Looking ahead, residential construction continues to face high interest rates and inflation. However, Deloitte says the nonresidential segment is likely to continue to grow as federal funds support the construction of chip fabrication plants, biotechnology facilities, EV battery factories, and other clean energy projects in 2024. Not only will these types of initiatives continue to be a boon for construction employment, but Santangelo says clean energy projects can also “be a significant driver of job growth across multiple sectors” as well.

Wage Gains Hampered by Still-High Inflation

As employment expands, pay has been increasing along with it, as was the case in March. According to the BLS monthly jobs report, average hourly wages increased by 12 cents (0.3%) over the past month, or 4.1% over the past year. These wage hikes may look substantial at first glance; however, a closer look reveals they may not have as great of an effect on workers’ wallets amid still-high inflation.

Santangelo says, “Despite a 4.1% increase in wages over the past year, consumer prices have also risen by 3.2%, suggesting that real wage growth may be less than reported. Thus, while job growth and wage increases generally correlate, their overall net impact on individuals’ incomes is influenced by factors such as inflation.”

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 May when we will release our next take on the monthly jobs report.