Cooling labor market promises to lure more workers off the sidelines

Highlights

Overall, while hourly jobs are up 155% from February 2020's pre-pandemic numbers, we’re seeing a 2% month-over-month drop and a 4% year-over-year gain. 

Big picture, as the holidays approach and businesses continue to face staffing challenges, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Why? Friday’s most-recent jobs report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the labor market is cooling slightly. This could well encourage hourly workers who remain on the sidelines to get back into the job market sooner than later. Given today’s 62.2% labor participation rate (down slightly from last month’s 63.3% figure), there obviously remains a large number of potential workers who can help meet your holiday hiring needs. Signs point to many of these potential workers being on the verge of returning to the workforce before the once-ample employment opportunities dry up.

Reasons for this change of heart? First, news of layoffs is dominating today’s media. Although these layoffs tend to be focused on white-collar tech jobs and within industries directly impacted by rising inflation (think automotive and real estate), layoffs are still in the back of the minds of hourly workers. Their concern centers around how difficult it would be to get a job after the holidays, when thousands of new workers may be laid off and also looking for a job.

This anxiousness is front and center in Snagajob’s annual Holiday Hiring Report, where we found that over 19% of hourly workers are concerned about the stability of their jobs一be it from layoffs or reduced hours. Uncertainty is always a motivator.

Secondly, workers may soon be returning to the job market en masse due to inflation that continues to grow at 8.2%. Perhaps a more telling point is that this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is estimated to cost 13.5% more than in 2021. With money getting tighter, there’s more reason to take a job in the immediate future.

Getting to the crux of today’s hiring situation, the balance may gradually shift towards employers as workers have less leverage. While you may be tempted to follow suit and lower your wages and offer fewer benefits, a word to the wise is to do just the opposite. By offering hourly workers an above-market package, you will rise to the top. This will help you get noticed and get applications. With the holiday rush coming, now is not the time to be conservative.

Here are specific findings from Friday’s BLS job report:

  • The US job market remains strong, adding 261,000 jobs in October (higher than the 205,000 jobs estimated)

  • Unemployment rose 0.02% in October, coming in at 3.7% (which was above the estimate of 3.5%)

  • There are currently 159 million people unemployed in the US

  • Over 1.3 million US workers were laid off in October

  • There are now 10 million open jobs in the US, down from 11 million in July, but there remain nearly two open jobs for every one available worker

  • Average hourly earnings are up 4.7% from this time last year, rising 0.04% during October

Specifically for hourly hiring, here are a few highlights of what we’re seeing:

  • Retail job posts are up 7% from September, as businesses naturally gear up for the holiday season

  • Warehouse & Logistics is up 9% from last year, but fell 12% from last month’s figure

  • Healthcare remains strong, growing both year-over-year (up 13%) and month-over-month (up 7%)

  • Shifts by Snagajob’s ondemand “gig” job postings saw an 18% gain from September to October

Jobs

All industry data is from 3/2/20-10/31/2022

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall, while hourly jobs are up 155% from February 2020's pre-pandemic numbers, we’re seeing a 2% month-over-month drop and a 4% year-over-year gain. 

Here are the latest hourly job numbers by industry and category:

Food & Restaurant jobs are up 3% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 3% month-over-month gain, and a 27% year-over-year decline.


Hotel & Hospitality jobs are up 1% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 4% month-over-month gain, and a 47% year-over-year decline.

Healthcare jobs are up 211% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 7% month-over-month gain, and a 13% year-over-year growth.

Retail jobs are up 49% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 7% month-over-month gain, and a 1% year-over-year decline.

Warehouse & Logistics jobs are up 847% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 12% month-over-month decline, and a 9% year-over-year growth.

Shifts by Snagajob requested shifts are up 250% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing an 18% month-over-month gain, and a 47% year-over-year growth. Fill rates are down 16% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 7% month-over-month decline, and a 10% 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.