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Hiring Trends: Jobless claims fall as wages climb 

Highlights

Overall, hourly jobs are up 170% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 1% month-over-month gain, and a 49% year-over-year growth. Google searches for hourly jobs are up 28% from this time last year.

US jobless claims fell to their lowest levels since 1969. 

According to the Labor Department, last week there were just 187,000 new claims nationwide (down 28,000 from the previous week). Continuing claims declined too, down 67,000 from the previous week and falling to 1.35 million in total.

To put that in perspective, in early April 2020 there were 6.15 million jobless claims. The decline is in large part due to the drop in pandemic-related medical cases, as well as the easing of COVID-19 restrictions at workplaces. 

With fewer workers available, employers continue to have difficulty reaching their desired staffing levels. There are now 11.3 million open jobs in the US, yet 1.8 open positions per every unemployed worker.

The result is tipping the scales in the favor of workers, which in turn is driving wages up (particularly in higher-wage industries). To be competitive, companies vying for workers are well-advised to consider offering higher wages and more benefits.

A recent Wall Street Journal podcast touched on this topic一specifically of our worker’s intrinsic demands for higher pay一when speaking with Jake Rosenfeld, Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. He points out that many Americans emphasize work as a core part of their identity. “Pay is personal and increased pay means you're doing something right,” Rosenfeld noted. “And in some kind of deep way, that you are more worthy as a person.”

In other hiring news, here are month-over-month hourly hiring job trends:

  • Largest gain: Warehouse & Production (+10%)

  • Sharpest drop: Healthcare (-5%)


While the strong demand for workers continues to outpace the inclination of workers to accept these jobs, expect US businesses to continue scrambling to staff up for summer hiring. The strength in the job market may also encourage the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates in May, which could further impact a company’s ability to borrow money to afford more workers. Moving quickly to hire, while offering generous compensation and benefits, is paramount to being competitive for available workers.  

Jobs

All industry data is from 3/2/20-03/30/2022

Here are the latest overall job numbers:


Overall jobs are up 170% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 1% month-over-month gain, and a 49% year-over-year growth. Google searches for hourly jobs are up 28% from this time last year.



Here are the latest job numbers by industry:

Food & Restaurant jobs are up 43% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 2% month-over-month gain, and an 11% year-over-year growth.

Hotel & Hospitality jobs are up 55% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 9% month-over-month gain, and a 2% year-over-year growth.

Healthcare jobs are up 101% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 5% month-over-month decline, and an 18% year-over-year gain.

Retail jobs are up 53% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 1% month-over-month gain, and a 24% year-over-year growth.

Warehouse & Logistics jobs are up 670% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 10% month-over-month gain, and a 200% year-over-year growth.


Workers

Google searches for hourly jobs are up 28% year-over-year.


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.

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