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The impact of rising unemployment, and why hiring managers are turning to Gen Z

Highlights

Overall, hourly jobs are up 208% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 12% month-over-month gain, and a 48% year-over-year growth. Google searches for hourly jobs are down 8% from this time last year.

On the hiring front, all eyes are on the looming possibility of an economic recession and how that’s impacting today’s labor market. 

One figure that’s watched closely in this matter is the US unemployment rate, which according to most recent Labor Department data shows a slight increase of 27,000 additional claims for the week. Logic suggests that if more people are filing for unemployment, more workers are available to fill open positions. However, this trend is being tempered by the fact that unemployment claims remain at historic lows, and there still remain some 12 million open jobs in the US (with under 6 million looking to fill the jobs). So, such a slight increase in available workers will most likely have minimal impact on the overall hiring situation.

In response, hiring managers are turning to Gen Z (job seekers 25 years old and younger)

A bright spot in today’s summer hiring market is the increase in young workers joining the market, particularly those of college age.

In fact, there are currently more than 1 million fewer students enrolled in college now than before COVID-19 hit. This includes a 13% decline in enrollment at community colleges, where many youths are opting for employment over education. 

As our recent Summer 2022 Hourly Hiring Report detailed, 70% of the Generation Z population is now looking for work as are 87% of teens.

Also, many of those who graduated from college in 2022 are choosing hourly jobs over full-time permanent positions. This is either because the job market for entry-level jobs is diminishing as tech-company hiring slows, or because younger workers simply want a work-life balance that better fits their changing views of what they want from a job.

Either way, these young workers are the most active job seekers today and provide a great opportunity for teams looking to hire for summer help.

Largest gains and declines in hourly hiring

Specifically, in the hourly hiring market, the most notable gains in year-over-year job openings were:

  • Warehouse & Production (up 241%)

  • Healthcare (up 65%)

Conversely, the industries with the smallest year-over-year gain in job openings were:

  • Hotel & Hospitality (down 1%)

  • Food & Restaurant (up 1%)


Bottom line, there continues to be a “tale of two cities” in the jobs market. Many tech companies are backing off of hiring (and in some cases even laying off workers). Yet, other industries can’t fill summer positions fast enough to meet the demand from consumers eager to revenge travel. As Snagajob CEO Mathieu Stevenson noted in a U.S. News & World Report article last week, “Broadly, we are starting to see a bifurcation, with white collar cooling off somewhat but the more blue-collar end of the spectrum not the case.” For those looking to hire, you’re well-advised to look beyond traditional candidates to young workers, second-chance hires, and other under-utilized pools that are eager to work.


Jobs

All industry data is from 3/2/20-6/14/2022

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall jobs are up 208% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 12% month-over-month gain, and a 48% year-over-year growth. Google searches for hourly jobs are down 8% from this time last year.

Here are the latest job numbers by industry:

Food & Restaurant jobs are up 47% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 4% month-over-month gain, and 0% year-over-year growth.

Hotel & Hospitality jobs are up 74% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 13% month-over-month gain, and a 1% year-over-year decline.

Healthcare jobs are up 205% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 45% month-over-month gain, and a 65% year-over-year growth.

Retail jobs are up 56% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 3% month-over-month gain, and a 20% year-over-year growth.

Warehouse & Production jobs are up 1511% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 112% month-over-month gain, and a 241% year-over-year growth.


Workers

Google searches for hourly jobs are down 8% 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.