Ironically, August’s job report setbacks are a step forward for hiring

Highlights

Overall, hourly jobs are up 158% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 3% month-over-month drop, and a 3% year-over-year decline. 

On the hiring front, we have lots to go over in this month’s report as the Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released their telltale August jobs report.

And what a tale it tells. Brace yourself. There’s no shortage of numbers involved here, so we’ll try to boil it all down to what matters most for hiring hourly workers.

Although counterintuitive, there’s “good” news as the US economy seems to be slowing and unemployment rising. 

Why is this good? As we’ll get into later in some detail, in August fewer jobs were posted and more people were looking for jobs. In theory, that will help you hire more easily. Let’s discuss.

First, after a blistering July with 526,000 new jobs added, August came back down to earth with 315,000 new positions. That number was pretty much in line with economists’ predictions. So hats off to the analysts. Naturally, this is good for businesses hiring, as there are 211,000 fewer new postings you have to compete against. On a side note, 315,000 new jobs is, historically, still a big number. Pre-pandemic BLS statistics show an average gain of around 200,000 jobs.

Next, the recent jobs report revealed that the US unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in July to 3.7% in August. So again, why is this good? Simple. This .2% gain means more workers who were previously on the sideline have now decided to look for jobs. Now you have fewer jobs out there, plus more people looking for work. Specifically, 786,000 people threw their hats in the ring in August, either because pandemic restrictions have eased, inflation is eating away their savings, boredom, or whatever. Probably a combination of all. If you want to slice it a different way, another number to look at is the US worker participation rate. Although still below the pre-pandemic level of 63.4%, in August worker participation rose .03 to 62.4% of the US population able to work.

One negative stat for those hiring is that wages did rise again, up 5.2% from this time last year. But again, in theory, that figure may cool in the weeks to come as the abovementioned jobs/workers gap begins to close. With less competition, you won’t have to be as aggressive to attract hourly workers. However, it’s not yet time to lowball. You’re well advised to continue offering above-average pay rates to win-over job seekers who still have a lot of opportunities before them.

Hourly work continues to grow

Another revealing statistic in the BLS jobs report is that hourly work is surging as the economy taps on the brakes. During August, full-time jobs fell by 242,000 while part-time work grew by 413,000 jobs.

This includes growth in the “shifts” market, where vetted W-2 workers looking for part-time work pick up one-off shifts when and where they want. At Snagajob we track this trend in our Shifts by Snagajob category, which we’ve now added to the below charts so you can follow the work sector’s movement. 

Specifically, in the hourly jobs market, these sectors saw the largest gains in August:

  • Food & Restaurant up 12%

  • Shifts by Snagajob up 8%

  • Healthcare up 5%

Jobs

All industry data is from 3/2/20-8/31/2022

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall hourly jobs are up 158% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 3% month-over-month drop, and a 3% year-over-year decline. 

Here are the latest job numbers by industry and category:

Food & Restaurant jobs are up 6% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 12% month-over-month drop, and a 26% year-over-year decline.

Hotel & Hospitality jobs are down 2% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 12% month-over-month drop, and a 62% year-over-year decline.

Healthcare jobs are up 191% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 5% month-over-month gain, and a 24% year-over-year decline.

Retail jobs are up 44% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 1% month-over-month drop, and an 8% year-over-year decline.

Warehouse & Logistics jobs are up 1149% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 1% month-over-month decline, and a 66% year-over-year growth.

Shifts by Snagajob requested shifts are up 136% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing an 8% month-over-month gain, and a 1% year-over-year decline. Fill rates are down 6% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 12% month-over-month decline, and a 69% year-over-year growth. 

The bottom line

We’ll continue to be your best resource for hourly job market insights as we collectively navigate towards our new normal and beyond.

Mathieu Stevenson |
Mathieu Stevenson is the CEO of Snagajob. His first hourly job was as a lifeguard.