The U.S. labor market expanded more slowly in May, with steady growth in job openings (4.5%) but more moderate growth in new hires (1%), on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to iCIMS’ Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI). The consistent gap between job openings and hires, month-over-month, suggests that the demand for workers continues to outpace the supply of people in need of a job.
The MHI is a leading economic indicator published by iCIMS, drawing upon its database of more than 75 million applications and 4 million hires each year. New hires translate directly into payroll growth, after netting out departures, layoffs and other separations.
May 2019 U.S. New Hires and Openings Highlights:
Most sectors that iCIMS tracks held steady or saw a slight decrease in hires, on a seasonally-adjusted basis. iCIMS’ data suggests manufacturing had a significantly slower May than in years past and is likely to remain under a cloud in the near-term.
The strength in new job openings in May was driven by the 9.6% growth in retail trade and the 7.1% growth by education & health services sectors. Retail’s growth is driven by the uptick in job openings for salespersons, first-line supervisors, and store clerks and order fillers, while healthcare employers are trying to fill positions for registered nurses, nursing assistants, and licensed practical and vocational nurses.
In contrast, the financial services sector was weak, with a 10.3% dip in job openings and a 2.3% decline in hires. Most occupation types saw declines, with the notable exception of tech-driven and computer-related jobs, as financial companies shift toward technology-oriented roles.
Cities that saw the biggest increase in hires, after factoring in seasonal adjustments, include the San Francisco and Philadelphia areas, up 14.8% and 14.5%, respectively. Philadelphia saw similar growth in job openings (up 18.5%), followed by San Diego (up 15.5%).
“In May, hiring growth was modest, but roughly in line with our expectations for the economy to cool under the combined impact of fading fiscal stimulus, weakness abroad, and concerns about trade conflicts,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS. “It’s too soon to see the impact of the latest headlines, which may or may not come to fruition. In the meanwhile, this is no time for employers to let up on their recruiting efforts for hard-to-fill roles, as technological shifts continue to sweep across industries.”