Monthly Jobs Report: Monster’s Hiring Snapshot

The job market is looking hot, hot, hot heading into summer. According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly jobs report, hiring continued to move at a faster pace than expected with gains of 339,000 jobs in May. Growth was seen across the board, primarily in tech, government, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and more.

Looking ahead, Monster’s Economist, Giacomo Santangelo, says there’s a good chance the current hiring momentum will continue this summer. “The latest data indicates a strong foundation for sustained employment opportunities,” he says. “However, the continuation of the job growth will depend on several factors, such as the pace of economic recovery, any potential policy changes, and the resolution of global uncertainties (e.g., oil prices, continued inflation).”

Here’s our breakdown of the latest job numbers along with key takeaways to help employers plan for the months ahead.

Increasing Unemployment Rate May be Related to the Skills Gap

While hiring was strong in May, the BLS monthly jobs report showed that the unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 3.7%, while the labor force participation rate stayed about the same. According to Santangelo, this may be a sign of a widening skills gap. He says, “It is important to consider that the increase in the unemployment rate may indicate a potential mismatch between the skills and qualifications of job seekers and the requirements of available positions. This calls for employers to evaluate their hiring strategies and consider investing in training programs or upskilling initiatives to bridge the skills gap.”

Inflation Might Drive Job Searches Among Candidates

In a recent Monster poll, 81% of workers said their pay has not kept up with the rising cost of living—and generally speaking, it hasn’t. The rising cost of goods continues to outpace wage growth, with the BLS most recently showing that average hourly earnings rose 0.3% in May while consumer prices increased 0.4%.

Until inflation cools, Monster and BLS data indicate that more people may be looking for work, whether it be a higher-paying job or a second job. The same Monster poll found that about two-thirds of workers are looking for a higher-paying job due to inflation, while 40% of workers are considering taking another job to help pay the bills. Just over the past month alone, candidate job searches were up 10% on Monster with “part-time” being the #3 most searched term overall by candidates in May. Over the past year, BLS job numbers show the number of people holding multiple jobs increased 5.5%, the bulk of which included people with a primary full-time job and a secondary part-time job.

An increase in multiple jobholders and part-time workers may be good for businesses amid ongoing labor shortages and increased employer costs. While employers should be cautious about relying solely on these types of workers, Santangelo highlighted a few benefits of hiring part-time help, including:

  • The availability of part-time workers can fill gaps in shifts, cover seasonal demands, or provide flexibility for employers in managing their workforce needs.
  • The presence of part-time workers with specialized skills can complement full-time employees, contributing to enhanced productivity and operational efficiency.
  • Hiring part-time workers can be a cost-effective strategy for employers, particularly in an inflationary environment as they tend to receive fewer benefits and lower wages compared to full-time employees.

The Class of 2023 Enters the Labor Market

“Pomp and Circumstance” played, tassels were moved from right to left, and caps were tossed with reckless abandon. Now with diplomas in hand, this year’s grads are looking for jobs to make all those late-night study sessions worth it. Despite the current economic conditions, Monster’s 2023 State of the Graduate report found this year’s graduating class is more confident they will be able to find a job this year, compared to last year’s cohort.

“Graduates may perceive increased opportunities due to expanding industries, growing sectors, or an overall recovery from the last few years,” Santangelo says. “Additionally, the availability of online job platforms and recruitment tools may have enhanced graduates’ confidence in finding suitable employment. These platforms provide greater visibility and accessibility to job opportunities, facilitating the job search process for graduates.”

Artificial Intelligence’s Effect on Tech Jobs

Since the rise of artificial intelligence like ChatGPT, people have worried that robots would soon be coming for their jobs. While we are already seeing AI and other kinds of automation threaten certain jobs, such as cashiers being replaced with self-checkout lines or customer service representatives with chatbots, it’s also ushering in new jobs in tech.

Santangelo says, “Continued innovation, continued transformation (across all industries) to online, digital, and AI is expected to create demand for tech professionals who can help organizations navigate and leverage new technologies. This may lead to increased hiring in roles related to digitalization, software development, IT consulting, and digital marketing.”

Recent Monster and BLS job numbers reflect this surge in hiring for tech-related roles. In May, the business and professional services sector led the way in the BLS monthly jobs report with gains of 64,000, the bulk of which was seen in tech (43,000). Meanwhile, on Monster, some of the top tech jobs posted over the past month include:

  • Software developers, applications
  • Network and computer systems administrators
  • Computer user support specialists

From the candidate side, job search activity appears strong as some of the top overall job searches in May were for tech jobs. Within tech, some of the top jobs being searched on Monster include:

  • Java developer (#8 overall)
  • Data engineer (#10 overall)
  • Software engineer

Teens Fill Leisure and Hospitality Summer Staffs

Heading into summer, hiring within leisure and hospitality picked up in May with the addition of 48,000 payrolls. With demand high and schools out for the summer, restaurants, ice cream stands, amusement parks, summer camps, and more may have tapped the teenage labor market to bulk up staff amid ongoing labor shortages. And with employers paying more than ever before, it’s not surprising that the number of employed teens this year is up 34%, compared to the last pre-Covid summer when it was only 30%.

“The summer often brings a surge in demand for leisure and hospitality services as people engage in recreational activities and travel,” Santangelo says. “Hiring teens to fill these positions helps businesses meet the increased demand and maintain smooth operations during the busy summer months. Their employment allows establishments to expand their workforce without putting excessive strain on existing workers.”

With the industry still down 349,000 jobs (2.1%) from pre-Covid levels, Monster data shows the leisure and hospitality jobs most in demand right now. These include:

  • Cooks
  • Food prep and serving workers (including fast food)
  • Waiters and waitresses

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 Intelligence for a deeper dive into data and what it will mean for your business

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