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Minimum wages inch higher, as employers look to address bare-bones labor supply 

Highlights

Overall, hourly jobs are up 198% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing an 8% month-over-month gain, and a 44% year-over-year growth. Google searches for hourly jobs are up 6% from this time last year.

Workers are making the most of the tightest labor market in decades by switching jobs for higher pay. Inflation is also a big reason they’re seeking increased wages.

Manufacturers can absorb paying workers higher wages more easily because labor is a smaller portion of their total costs. But, for service businesses, the cost of labor is a bigger burden— and about 6 of every 7 American workers are employed in the service sector.

As inflation continues to eat away at worker earnings, there’s a trend towards raising the minimum wage offered at both the state level and at individual businesses. For example, California is upping the state’s minimum wage to $15.50 an hour for workers next year. Similarly, Starbucks has committed to raising its minimum wage to $15 this summer (this goes along with at least a 5% raise for workers with 2-5 years at the company, or an increase to 5% above the starting wage in a particular marketーwhichever is higher). There are even higher increases planned for Starbucks workers with 5+ years under their belt.

Slowing wage increasesーwhich would in theory slow inflationーis looking to be a challenge as that would likely require an increase in the number of available workers. Although job seekers are returning to the workforce, the total number of workers looks to be dwindling.  A smaller immigration population, mass retirement of baby boomers, and a slow birth rate in America are the main contributors. The adult US population is expected to only grow by 35,000 per month during the next two years, down from 80,000 per month pre-pandemic and 200,000 per month in the late 1990s.

One sector hit hard by the declining workforce is the pizza industry. Although demand continues to skyrocket, staffing issues hamper pizza delivery. From mega-corporations to local neighborhood pizzerias, teams are taking steps to hire much-needed drivers who are increasingly quitting. Noted Cowan restaurant analyst Andrew Charles, “Drivers take the job because they want to make tips. If there are less deliveries to make…that hurts in trying to get delivery drivers.”

Workers leaving their jobs certainly isn’t limited to the restaurant industry, though. New data released by the Labor Department shows that in March alone 4.5 million US workers quit their jobs. This shows how confident workers are that they can easily get another job, given that there are close to two open positions for every one available worker.

This makes it all the more important to make sure your summer hiring strategy is in line with what workers are expecting in today’s post-pandemic job market. 




While summer hiring can be a challenge, there are positive signs. Most notably, the rise in teen workers looking for seasonal work. Also consider other pools of candidates, from women returning to the workforce now that childcare is less of an issue, to second-chance hires. The workers are out there, and if you’re able to evolve your hiring strategy to align with their expectations, it should make for a wonderful and prosperous summer.


Jobs

All industry data is from 3/2/20-5/17/22

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall jobs are up 198% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing an 8% month-over-month gain, and a 44% year-over-year growth. Google searches for hourly jobs are up 6% from this time last year.



Here are the latest job numbers by industry:

Food & Restaurant jobs are up 44% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 2% month-over-month gain, and a 2% year-over-year decline.


Hotel & Hospitality jobs are up 78% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 15% month-over-month gain, and a 2% year-over-year growth.


Healthcare jobs are up 147% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing an 18% month-over-month gain, and a 34% year-over-year growth.


Retail jobs are up 42% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 6% month-over-month decline, and a 9% year-over-year gain.


Warehouse & Production jobs are up 1396% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 97% month-over-month gain, and a 217% year-over-year growth.


Workers


Google searches for hourly jobs are up 6% 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.