As the year wound down, so did the job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly jobs report, job growth slowed in December with gains of 223,000 jobs, down from the 256,000 jobs added in the month prior.
Heading into 2023, however, BLS job numbers suggest that things may perk up in the new year. The BLS Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover survey (JOLTs) released at the beginning of January showed that job openings increased by nearly 2%. Not to mention, Monster jobs data showed an uptick in job postings over the past month within industries still on the post-pandemic rebound, including healthcare (+7%) and leisure and hospitality (+1%).
Here’s a breakdown of the latest job numbers along with key takeaways to help employers plan for the months ahead.
Wage Increases Expected to Continue
The cost of goods is continuing to go up, according to the latest Consumer Price Index. In November, prices rose 0.1% after increasing 0.4% in October. Over the past year, consumer prices have risen 7.1%.
To combat inflation, interest rates trended up in 2022 and are expected to remain elevated for “some time” until wages have a chance to catch up with the high cost of living. Wages, however, still have a ways to go.
In an effort to close the gap between consumer price and employee wage growth, employers continued to increase pay in December as they have throughout 2022. According to the BLS monthly jobs report, average hourly wages increased by 9 cents (0.3%) for a total of $32.82. Looking ahead to 2023, wage growth is expected to continue with projections showing an increase of 4.6%, up from 4.2% in 2022.
The Full Scoop on Part-Time Jobs
With the cost of living continuing to rise, purse strings are tightening across the United States. According to a recent survey, 3 in 5 people said they are trying to cut costs in their everyday lives. But cutting costs may not be enough. Increasingly, we’re seeing more workers applying to second jobs or picking up side work to make ends meet. In fact, candidate searches for “part time” jobs was the third most-searched keyword overall in December on Monster.
Monster Economist Giacomo Santangelo says we should not be surprised to see the face of the labor market change in the new year. He says, “2023 will not be so much about job ‘growth’ as job ‘transition.’ We are already seeing job seekers in Monster’s 2023 Recruitment Survival Guide, talking about their intention to take on additional jobs. Employers should embrace this transition given the cost-cutting potential of increasing part-time labor. The current labor report even reflects the beginnings of this in the decrease in the number of employed workers for the third straight month, and increase in the number of part-time workers.”
Leisure and Hospitality Industry is Still in the Weeds
The leisure and hospitality industry had a rocky year, thanks to rising food prices, supply chain issues, and labor shortages. Nevertheless, the industry continued to persevere, even ending 2022 on a positive note with employment gains of 67,000 shown in the BLS December jobs report. Likewise, some of the top leisure and hospitality jobs posted on Monster over the past month included:
- Combined food prep and serving workers (including fast food)
- Waiters and waitresses
Even with these gains, the leisure and hospitality industry is still very much “in the weeds.” With job numbers 932,000 (5.5%) short of where they were before the pandemic, hiring and retaining workers will continue to be a challenge for employers in 2023. Not to mention, if a recession hits, Santangelo says restaurants may be further impacted if people can no longer afford to eat out.
On the other hand, when it comes to combating the ongoing labor shortages, “a recession may make it easier for restaurants to find workers given people’s willingness to work jobs they normally would not take,” Santangelo says. Within leisure and hospitality, Monster data shows where candidates are focusing their job searches right now:
More Nurses is What the Doctor Ordered
For the healthcare industry, 2020 was a tough pandemic year, and 2021 wasn’t much better with more than 300,000 workers dropping out of the workforce. This past year, however, saw much-needed improvement with an average of 49,000 job gains per month in the BLS monthly jobs reports, compared to only 9,000 in 2021.
Monster job numbers indicate that this growth may continue in 2023, with the number of active healthcare job postings up 7% month-over-month. In fact, “registered nurse” was the #1 active job hiring overall in December on Monster. Other top active healthcare job ads included:
- Nursing assistants
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Still, when it comes to recruitment and retention, the industry has its work cut out for it, with projections showing that 1.2 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2030. “The only thing that will bring an end to the healthcare labor crisis is an increase in healthcare workers,” Santangelo says. “Until that happens, we can expect to see continued dissatisfaction among healthcare workers as more is asked of them due to the skills gap.”
Over the past month, some of the top keywords searched by healthcare candidates on Monster included:
- Registered nurse
- Part time
- Medical assistant
Construction Outlook May be Rocky
Construction employment grew in December with gains of 28,000 in the BLS monthly jobs report – well above the industry’s average monthly gain of 19,000. Monster saw a number of active construction jobs hiring as well, including those for:
- Construction laborers
Looking ahead, construction starts, which rose 17% in 2022, are expected to remain flat in 2023, which is fairly optimistic given the uncertainty surrounding today’s economic landscape. The bulk of the growth will likely be seen in government-contracted construction projects, thanks to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was passed in November 2021. The bill is expected to boost construction spending by 5.5% in 2023.
Residential construction, however, will likely continue to be impacted by high mortgage rates. Santangelo says, “As the cost of borrowing increases, especially mortgage rates, we should expect to see construction slowing down.”
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