Job Market Report: Job Openings Near All-Time High in August, Pay Up 1.9 Percent

The labor market is showing no signs of stopping in August as job openings on Glassdoor near an all-time high. Glassdoor’s latest Job Market Report shows that job openings rose a healthy 3.2 percent to 5.94 million this month, just below July’s revised all-time high of 6 million job openings. As recession chatter picks up, job openings growth continues to slow compared to 2018, but Glassdoor’s August figures show a moderately expanding labor market that is still fundamentally healthy and running hot.

The figure below shows the trend in job openings on Glassdoor since January 2017 (blue line), as well as the year-over-year growth rate in job openings (green line).

Annual pay growth on Glassdoor held steady at 1.9 percent, with median base pay rising to $53,950 a year. That’s in line with the rate of growth seen over the last three months, but is still below the 2.6 percent average pay growth we saw in the second half of 2018. Pay growth has been stubbornly low in 2019, and we don’t yet see any signs of faster acceleration consistent with full employment.

The figure below shows the trend in U.S. median base pay on Glassdoor since January 2017 (blue line), as well as the year-over-year growth rate in pay (green line).

Recession fears are front and center, with the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, stock market volatility and further yield curve inversions. Despite concerns about a recession, our data suggests that the labor market is shrugging off the bad news and employers remain confident enough in the economy to continue hiring.

Let’s take a closer look at growth in job openings and pay on Glassdoor in August 2019. 

Local Metro Trends in Job Opening and Pay Growth

  • Boston was the fastest growing metro in job openings on Glassdoor, growing at 8.5 percent. Boston benefits from a diverse economy with high-skill industries like technology (including information technology, computer software & hardware and internet & tech) where job openings in Boston grew 24.5 percent, collectively. Other high-skill, white-collar industries like accounting & legal (+37.1 percent) and consulting (+11.3 percent) contributed to strong job gains.
  • Tech hub San Francisco continued its streak of 13 consecutive months with the fastest pay growth, up 3.2 percent. However, job openings in San Francisco dropped 0.1 percent annually. This was driven partially by a pullback in hiring in the tech industry, but the decline was also seen across many industries in the local economy.
  • Like San Francisco, the largest cities in the country saw the slowest growth in job openings but the fastest growth in pay. Los Angeles (+3.0 percent in pay), New York City (+2.6 percent) and Chicago (+2.1 percent) all experienced above-average pay growth, but below-average growth in job openings.

Below is a list of job openings and median base pay growth for all 10 U.S. metros in our August 2019 Job Market Report:

Growth in Job Openings and Pay Across 10 Major U.S. Metros

Area Job Openings YoY % Median Base Pay YoY %
U.S. National 5,940,381 3.2% $53,950 1.9%
Boston 155,434 8.5% $61,744 2.6%
Philadelphia 111,181 5.8% $56,972 1.2%
Atlanta 122,359 5.5% $55,782 2.7%
Washington DC 190,506 4.9% $61,956 2.5%
Seattle 112,904 4.3% $63,633 2.4%
Chicago 199,579 2.3% $58,405 2.1%
New York City 306,922 1.9% $64,563 2.6%
Los Angeles 221,090 1.4% $63,225 3.0%
San Francisco 146,700 -0.1% $73,128 3.2%
Houston 96,716 -4.1% $57,062 2.4%

Trends in Job Opening Growth

  • Despite recession fears, Americans remain confident in the state of the economy with consumer sentiment near generational highs. By extension, that confidence is driving hiring in service industries like retail (+2.8 percent) and restaurant & bars (+13.2 percent). Beauty & fitness, a smaller industry that relies heavily on consumer spending, even broke into the top 5 fastest growing industries in August with a 17 percent annual increase in job openings. Demand for service workers in the fitness industry like personal trainers, yoga instructors and massage therapists has expanded, and because these jobs rely on in-person interaction, they can avoid automation pressures affecting other jobs.
  • Accounting & legal topped the list of industries with the fastest growth in job openings. Large employers in the industry have increased hiring to meet the growing demand for their services as the economy expands and to accommodate new technologies. Job openings in the industry range from data scientist to tax manager, which Glassdoor recently named as the job with the best career opportunities.
  • August marks the 26th straight month of double-digit growth in job openings for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and the third straight month of growth over 20 percent. Growth in job openings has accelerated in the last few months and small business confidence remains healthy. But the tight labor market certainly pressures small businesses with less flexibility to raise wages as they compete for talent against large firms.

Below are lists of the industries with the fastest and slowest growth in job openings in our August 2019 Job Market Report, followed by growth in job openings segmented by employer size:

Top 5 Industries with Fastest Growth in Job Openings

Industry Job Openings YoY %
Accounting & Legal 47,416 26.0%
Media & Publishing 33,007 25.6%
Transportation & Logistics 282,477 20.8%
Information Technology 160,427 17.4%
Beauty & Fitness 79,514 17.0%

Top 5 Industries with Slowest Growth in Job Openings

Industry Job Openings YoY %
Consumer Electronics 9,289 -31.5%
Arts & Entertainment 53,264 -20.8%
Travel & Tourism 88,810 -20.6%
Internet & Tech 57,296 -18.9%
Supermarkets 94,328 -18.6%

Growth in Job Openings by Employer Size

Employer Size Job Openings YoY %
<51 559,298 22.1%
51-200 487,528 9.6%
201-500 486,791 6.1%
501-1000 324,328 -6.9%
1001-5000 971,235 -0.6%
5000+ 2,654,062 0.8%

You can view the full dataset of job openings growth by industry and employer size as of August 2019 here.

Trends in Pay Growth

  • The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China hasn’t yet dented workers’ wages in manufacturing and transportation & logistics. Pay grew steadily in August for jobs like machine operators (+4.2 percent), warehouse associates (+5.0 percent) and truck drivers (+4.2 percent). Even so, the trade war is hammering manufacturing job openings, which have declined 15.9 percent year-over-year to their lowest level since December 2017. Similarly, even though transportation & logistics job openings grew 20.8 percent year-over-year in August, the level of job openings have decreased for four straight months as escalating trade tensions take their toll on businesses dependent on the free flow of goods.
  • The housing market is sending mixed signals with a surge in housing permits but a drop in construction in July. The construction industry remains constrained by a lack of available workers and is raising wages in order to attract workers off the sidelines, with construction laborers’ wages up 4.4 percent in August.
  • Sales representatives (+3.9 percent) and customer service representatives (+3.6 percent) both broke into the top 10 job titles with the fastest pay growth. Labor shortages are forcing employers to raise wages for these critical customer-facing roles. A recently published Glassdoor study shows that higher employee satisfaction for workers in sales and customer service translates into higher customer satisfaction, and competitive compensation is an essential part of employee satisfaction.

Below are the jobs with the fastest and slowest year-over-year growth in median base pay for full-time U.S. workers in August:

Top 10 Job Titles with Fastest Pay Growth

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacy Technician $32,254 5.2%
Warehouse Associate $44,257 5.0%
Security Officer $36,159 4.6%
Construction Laborer $41,560 4.4%
Truck Driver $56,252 4.2%
Machine Operator $40,626 4.2%
Sales Representative $49,904 3.9%
Maintenance Technician $45,528 3.8%
Field Engineer $71,993 3.8%
Customer Service Representative $38,359 3.6%

Top 10 Job Titles with Slowest Pay Growth

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Business Development Manager $68,864 -4.1%
Maintenance Worker $40,727 -2.3%
Pharmacist $125,441 -1.6%
Attorney $98,543 -0.8%
Human Resources Manager $70,262 -0.5%
Web Designer $53,628 -0.5%
UX Designer $76,844 -0.3%
Loan Officer $47,514 -0.1%
Property Manager $51,730 0.0%
Java Developer $77,025 0.2%

You can view the full dataset of median base pay and pay growth by job title as of August 2019 here.

How Does it Work?

Note: Beginning in April 2019, the Glassdoor Job Market Report launched as an expansion of what was previously known as the Local Pay Reports. The new Job Market Report will publish monthly ahead of the BLS jobs report and now includes newly available data on job openings in addition to pay data previously reported in the Local Pay Reports. 

The Glassdoor Job Market Report provides a real-time view of job and hiring trends and wage growth in the U.S., including several metro areas, based on millions of online jobs and salaries on Glassdoor. As one of the world’s largest job sites, Glassdoor collects millions of job postings from a wide variety of online sources each month. In addition, Glassdoor is a leading source for real-time salary information, based on millions of crowd-sourced salary reports submitted online, voluntarily and anonymously, by current and former employees.

Leveraging the same technology behind Glassdoor’s powerful job search and Know Your Worth products, the Job Market Report applies proprietary data science and machine learning algorithms to Glassdoor data to aggregate and analyze online job openings and estimate wage growth across the nation, including in several U.S. metro areas. 

By publishing and comparing month-by-month job growth and pay growth across the U.S. by metro, industry and more, the Job Market Report offers a fresh, forward-looking and more detailed perspective into how the job market and economy are changing, in relative real-time.

Read more in our full methodology and FAQs.

Monthly Jobs Report Expectations

The latest jobs report from the federal government is due out on Friday. This month, we expect to see 170,000 new jobs added to payrolls and an unemployment rate steady at 3.7 percent in August.

The Glassdoor Job Market Report can be found at: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/job-market-report/. To learn more or subscribe to receive email alerts about new research, visit: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/.

Press inquiries: To speak with the Glassdoor Economic Research team about this month’s report and for any questions regarding the newly launched Job Market Report, please email pr@glassdoor.com.