The economy added 280,00 jobs in May, a stronger than expected showing which puts to rest fears of a weakening job market. The robust job growth was enough to bring discouraged job seekers off the sidelines, bumping the unemployment rate up to 5.5% as more workers re-started their job search.
According to the ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index, which provides leading indicator data for hiring activity in 14 key industries, the hiring demand picture is mixed, with some sectors returning to health since last month’s report, and some (Manufacturing, Retail Trade, Business Support) continue to languish.
The Key Winners
A month after overall Healthcare employment hit 15 million jobs nationwide, hiring demand continued to grow, at a slightly slower but still healthy pace. With 22.8 million Americans joining the ranks of the insured since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, demand for new workers to draw blood, update charts, and administer meds has spiked, a trend that seems likely to continue unless the Supreme Court strikes down key measures in the law as part of their upcoming decision in King v. Burwell. If that happens, an extended hiring slowdown is likely, with job losses a real possibility. For now, though, healthcare remains a key growth segment for the economy.
Predictive Analysis: Though healthcare hiring is in a cyclical mini-downturn, increased hiring demand indicates a return to form for the sector in the next few months.
Demand for factory workers has been on the rise since April, which signals that an upswing in manufacturing activity may be on the horizon. The sector was hit hard by an absolutely brutal winter, which only added to the drag created by a rising dollar and labor woes at West Coast ports, but economists are now predicting a slow and steady recovery.
Predictive Analysis: The yearlong trough in manufacturing hiring looks set to end, as demand continues to climb after turning it around in April.
For the 4th month in a row, hiring for management roles has been having a moment, as companies backfill personnel gaps created by the churn created by folks fleeing their old jobs for the greener pastures of new, presumably higher-paying, positions. Despite the widespread media attention given to the hollowing out of the middle-class, at the managerial level, at least, the middle is a pretty good place to be.
Predictive Analysis: Management hiring has essentially been flat since last June, but will continue the slow and steady climb that began in March. The number of jobs added will likely be solid, but unspectacular.
After two down months, the natural entropy of the world (things will break!) has created enough busted pipes, broken-down cars, and rusted gutters that this humble but incredibly important economic sector has bounced back with strong hiring demand in May. Interestingly, the top in-demand position in this sector is Apartment Maintenance Technician, which may mean that the nasty winter weather has paid dividends by providing lots of damaged apartment buildings that need repairs.
Predictive Analysis: Despite dipping to its lowest level in a year in April’s hiring demand index, Repair and Maintenance is headed north again, and will begin adding jobs in the next few months.
The Key Losers
Construction blasted out of the gates in April, when it accounted for 20% of total jobs created, but demand slowed in May. Whether that decline is due to filling the backlog of open jobs that languished during the long, icy winter, or some structural change in the sector as a whole, is unknown. Surveys show that overall construction employers plan to add payroll this year, so any slowdown may be short-lived.
Predictive Analysis: Surveys point to a strong hiring year for construction, so it’s likely that May’s dip will be short-lived and the sector will continue to add jobs at a healthy pace.
Admin had a strong four-month run but came up short in May, with a steep dip which may indicate that whatever pent up demand which built up during Fall and early Winter has been satisfied. Any slowdown should be shallow and short-lived, as the managers now being recruited will need support staff.
Predictive Analysis: Hiring is declining from its February peak, but seems like to level out and remain relatively constant at its new, lower level.
Despite low gas prices and an improving economic picture, consumer spending remains flat, and retail jobs are paying the price: the industry shed over 26,000 jobs in April, and our hiring demand index indicates things won’t be picking up anytime soon. The trend seems likely to continue unless recession-stung Americans begin opening their wallets again.
Predictive Analysis: A new hiring cycle seems set to begin in retail, but at a far lower level of demand than previous peaks over the last two years. Recession-sting Americans are just not spending, and the retail industry is bearing the brunt of it.
Employment in the insurance industry is on pace for a record year, but employers are reporting a shortage of qualified candidates, which may have contributed to May’s disappointing hiring demand numbers. In the long run, factors like the Affordable Care Act and an aging population point to a career in insurance as a safe bet, meaning this downtick could be a blip which will resolve itself in the next few months.
Predictive Analysis: Insurance hiring demand should be nearing the bottom of its current trough, with an increase in jobs added following in the next few months.
The Hottest Cities for Hiring Right Now
Though Texas has been a net loser of jobs in 2015, Dallas is one of three Lone Star cities that have continued to spin up jobs in spite of rough patches in the oil and construction industries.
Hot Jobs in Dallas: Physician Assistant, Business Analyst, Project Manager
Houston also had a strong month in hiring demand, with the caveat that these numbers predate the storms that wracked the region over the last week and a half; the employment fallout from the damaging floods is still to be felt.
Hot Jobs in Houston: Electrical Engineer, Physician Assistant, Class A Driver
Chicagoland continues to rank near the top of our hot cities list, as the city continues to benefit from job growth as evidenced 14 consecutive months of a falling unemployment rate.
Hot Jobs in Chicago: Account Executive, Physician Assistant, Pharmacy Technician
L.A. ‘s strong streak of hiring continues, with hospitality and business services leading the way. The big news here, of course, is the increased minimum wage, which will be phased in over the next five years. How that will affect hiring has been the subject of some debate, so we’ll follow that story closely in upcoming jobs reports.
Hot Jobs in L.A.: Registered Nurse, Mechanical Engineer, Pharmaceutical Sales
This hub of higher learning and high-tech jobs had good month in May, despite some local teeth-gnashing over the lack of breakout local startups. Whether or not the next Uber is being hatched over pints somewhere in the North End, Boston is still creating plenty of jobs.
Hot Jobs in Boston: Senior Software Engineer, Licensed Nurse Practitioner, Technical Lead
The Motor City lands in the top ten hottest cities this month by staying true to its legacy as a builder of things: engineering jobs lead the way as Detroit’s economy begins to revive, at least on the wider regional level. City unemployment is still near a mind-boggling 25%.
Hot Jobs in Detroit: Quality Engineer, Controls Engineer, Production Supervisor
Though Denver-area oil concerns have been cutting jobs amidst falling gas prices, hiring demand stayed at healthy levels last month, as a construction boom keeps the economy chugging along.
Hot Jobs in Denver: Controls Engineer, Data Warehouse Engineer, Home Health Aide
Yep, San Francisco is still a jobs engine, and the latest stat to drive this point home is this: the number of Bay Area jobs grew 25% from 1990 to 2014, a rate which has outpaced it’s prodigious population growth.
Hot Jobs in San Francisco: Nurse Practitioner, Account Manager, Registered Nurse
Once the thriving heart of the New South, Atlanta’s position as Sunbelt jobs engine has been usurped by cities like Houston and Dallas. All is not lost in the Big Peach, though, as it’s still creating good jobs and is ranked high on competiveness surveys.
Hot Jobs in Atlanta: Pediatrician, Business Analyst, Maintenance Technician
Say what you want about Texas, but it’s indisputably spinning up new jobs at an almost indecent rate. San Antonio joins Dallas and Houston in bucking statewide declines in construction and manufacturing to make the top ten.
Hot Jobs in San Antonio: Insurance Sales, Customer Service Rep, Diesel Mechanic
The ZipRecruiter National Jobs Report measures current and leading edge demand for employees across fourteen key industries by measuring relative month over month percent changes using the following benchmarks:
- Current Active Jobs – Our representative sample of millions of job postings provides an overview of existing demand for new employees (as opposed to hiring numbers), which provides a snapshot of the previous month’s hiring.
- New Jobs – Our representative sample of new job postings in January provides insight into current and upcoming demand, next month’s hiring numbers, and a predictive look at the demand curve for new employees across twenty-one industries.
- Employer Demand by Metro – We have further broken down these numbers to provide insight into current and upcoming demand for new employees across metropolitan areas nationwide.
- Key Indexed Industries are: Accommodation and Food Services, Business Support Services, Construction, Educational Services, Employment Services, Financial Activities, Health Care, Insurance Carriers and Related Activities, Management of Companies and Enterprises, Manufacturing, Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers, Repair and Maintenance, Retail Trade, Warehousing and Storage.