Job Openings and Wages Continue to Rise

There are, however, some signs the economy may be slowing.

Daniel B. Kline
Daniel B. Kline
Jul 2, 2019 at 7:01AM
Investment Planning

The labor market continues to inch forward, but new data show that it may be slowing down. Job openings rose by 1.4%, and median base pay increased by 1.7% compared to last year, according to Glassdoor's latest Job Market Report.

It's a positive that the number of job openings and base pay continue to climb, but the rate of growth has slowed down. That's perhaps a cause for concern, even though the number of total openings posted on Glassdoor remains at 5.65 million down only slightly from the April 2019 high of 5.81 million.

"The job market had a hot run in 2018, seeing annual growth in job openings at 9.8 percent. That annual growth has since slowed down to 2.2 percent so far in 2019," said Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao in the report. "Although it seems like a stark change, the continued growth in jobs and pay seen in Glassdoor's latest Job Market Report is a sign that the good times aren't over yet. But after a decade-long recovery, today's labor market is sluggish."

A man drives a tractor trailer.

Truck drivers and other transportation workers remain in high demand. Image source: Getty Images.

What jobs have the fastest growth?

Wage growth has slowed down as well dropping to 1.7% in June from 1.8% in May. Both those numbers are below the 2.5%average pay growth in the second half of 2018.

The fastest-growing industry -- transportation and logistics -- makes sense because of the increasing move for consumers to have products delivered to their homes. Major retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and Target have been growing their sales while pushing to deliver in one day or even on the same day a consumer orders.

Top 5 Industries with Fastest Growth in Job Openings

Industry

Job Openings

YoY %

Transportation & Logistics

308,066

49%

Information Technology

153,594

20%

Government

124,478

19.3%

Media & Publishing

27,389

17.8%

Insurance

74,200

8.7%

Data source: Glassdoor.

When it comes to pay, the lowest-paying jobs generally have the fastest growth. That's largely because there are more openings for entry-level or relatively low-skilled workers than there are people to fill them.

"June marks a new record for the longest period of time without a hike in the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage," according to Zhao. "Despite the lack of federal action, many large employers like Walmart, Amazon, and Target are raising wages themselves in order to attract increasingly scarce workers."


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Top 10 Job Titles with Fastest Pay Growth

Job Title

Median Base Pay

YoY %

Pharmacy Technician

$31,726

7.7%

Insurance Agent

$43,668

5.8%

Machine Operator

$40,628

5.5%

Restaurant Cook

$29,593

5%

Emergency Medical Technician

$36,030

4.9%

Sales Representative

$49,608

4.5%

Truck Driver

$55,457

4.2%

Security Officer

$36,076

4%

Customer Service Representative

$38,134

3.8%

Data Scientist

$97,637

3.6%

Data source: Glassdoor.

What does it mean?

At some point, companies stop adding jobs that they know they won't be able to fill. All of the major retailers and shipping companies have made major investments in automation. That will continue and it may eventually put a major damper on the labor market.

If a retailer can't find cashiers or warehouse workers easily it makes sense to eliminate some of those positions in favor of automation. These trends have already forced some of that but continuing worker shortages will likely increase the pace of larger players automating more positions.