Job Market Report: Job Openings Stagnate in February


March 3, 2020

The labor market stagnated in February after a weak start to 2020, signaling prospects for a return to big gains in job openings remain shaky. Glassdoor’s February Job Market Report revealed job openings were flat with no (0 percent) year-over-year change, a slight improvement after two consecutive months of declines.

Even though job openings were little changed compared to last year, they increased 2.8 percent month-over-month, reversing a recent monthly decline. Although the job market remains steady, the recent sluggishness has returned it to levels of job openings last seen in mid-2018, neutralizing the red hot gains of 2019.

Growth in annual base pay accelerated in February, rising to 2.5 percent year-over-year from a revised 2.2 percent in January. While the pay growth acceleration looks promising, it’s benefiting from being compared against a much weaker period of pay growth in early 2019. In fact, median base pay has actually declined month-over-month for the second consecutive month to $53,885 per year. The seemingly healthy bump in pay growth will likely dissipate soon, but it’s unclear when median base pay itself will start to increase again.

Job openings indicators are in the spotlight, following a decade-worst decline revealed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) earlier this month. Since Glassdoor’s data can provide a real-time view into the job openings trend, we already have a view into February data, which reveals job openings are stabilizing.

Unfortunately, the elevated levels of job openings in 2019 may have been nothing but a sugar high. Meanwhile, there are several factors like the coronavirus outbreak that we continue to watch as it unfolds for potential longer-term impacts. The economy and labor market are still fundamentally healthy, but all eyes will remain on both to determine what’s in store for the remainder of 2020.

Let’s take a closer look at growth in job openings and pay on Glassdoor in February 2020. 

Local Metro Trends in Job Opening and Pay Growth

  • For the second month in a row, Seattle had the largest increase in job openings, growing at a robust 5.1 percent pace. Seattle’s strong job market was led by increases in job openings in food services (+15.6 percent), public services (+11.4 percent) and tech (+10.1 percent). The variety of industries is a healthy sign for Seattle that opportunities are opening for workers across the skill and income spectrum.
  • Glassdoor’s Best Cities for Jobs in 2020 list was released last week featuring Raleigh, NC as the #1 city due to its unique blend of job opportunities, affordable cost of living and job satisfaction. Of the ten metros in our Job Market Report, Chicago (#15), Washington D.C. (#17), Boston (#20) and Seattle (#23) cracked the list, while the others were notably absent reflecting the challenges major cities have faced balancing jobs growth and affordability.
  • San Francisco topped the charts as the metro with the fastest pay growth at 4.8 percent. However, job openings have declined in the tech hub by 6.1 percent year-over-year, with declines across a variety of industries, but led by trade & transportation (-35.2 percent), retail (-19.8 percent), and finance & insurance (-18.7 percent).

Below is a list of job openings and median base pay growth for all 10 U.S. metros in our February 2020 Job Market Report:

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

AreaJob OpeningsYoY %Median Base PayYoY %
U.S. National5,718,7560.0%$53,8852.5%
Seattle112,8095.1%$65,6833.9%
Philadelphia115,0014.9%$58,0862.3%
Washington DC176,8572.8%$63,1213.1%
Boston142,5300.4%$62,9652.9%
New York City297,978-0.4%$66,2183.7%
Los Angeles204,980-1.9%$64,3543.6%
Houston92,771-2.4%$57,7143.4%
Chicago188,442-3.8%$59,5894.0%
San Francisco137,327-6.1%$75,1974.8%
Atlanta112,076-9.9%$56,3132.6%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Trends in Job Opening Growth

  • Small businesses with less than 51 employees increased job openings by 10.6 percent in February. While that growth in demand for workers is a healthy sign, it does represent a moderation from the growth seen in the summer of 2019 when growth rates were regularly over 20 percent.
  • Job openings in construction & real estate services grew 8.9 percent in February, primarily driven by growth in demand for architecture & civil engineering workers. Civil engineers also experienced the fastest wage growth (+3.2 percent) in February of any engineering job we track in our Job Market Report. Lower interest rates are spurring a boom in demand for construction and related services, and employers will need to raise wages to attract qualified workers to meet that demand.
  • Job openings for business services overall declined 8.6 percent, with component industries also declining: consulting (-9.3 percent), marketing & advertising (-6.8 percent), accounting & legal (-2.8 percent), private security (-11.3 percent) and other business services (-27.3 percent). The decline across the board is concerning as demand for business services are often procyclical—rising as the economy does well and falling as the economy slows down.

Below are lists of the industries with the fastest and slowest growth in job openings in our February 2020 Job Market Report, followed by growth in job openings segmented by employer size:

Top 5 Industries with Fastest Growth in Job Openings

IndustryJob OpeningsYoY %
Architecture & Civil Engineering58,24032.1%
Information Technology206,65124.8%
Government133,62124.0%
Restaurants & Bars529,3908.6%
Beauty & Fitness78,1627.3%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Top 5 Industries with Slowest Growth in Job Openings

IndustryJob OpeningsYoY %
Consumer Electronics6,867-35.3%
Transportation & Logistics254,463-33.4%
Internet & Tech54,636-31.1%
Business Services10,636-27.3%
Travel & Tourism85,191-20.0%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Growth in Job Openings by Employer Size

Employer SizeJob OpeningsYoY %
<51557,39410.6%
51-200505,4506.8%
201-500479,4200.7%
501-1000320,222-5.8%
1001-5000971,4722.5%
5000+2,440,863-3.4%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

You can view the full dataset of job openings growth by industry and employer size as of February 2020 here.

Trends in Pay Growth

  • Lower-income jobs saw faster pay growth in February. Jobs that pay under $50,000 per year grew 3.6 percent on average in February, compared to jobs that pay over $50,000 where pay grew only 1.6 percent. Pay growth for lower-income workers has been bolstered by increases in local and state minimum wages as well as the tight labor market squeezing employers in labor-intensive industries.
  • Pay growth for security officers hit 6.5 percent in February—an example of a lower-paying role where employers need to increase pay to attract workers. Notably, pay growth for security officers has been both strong and stable, only dipping below 2.5 percent in two months in the last four years. For security officers in particular, the pool of available workers may be smaller as employers are less able to relax background or drug checks like they have for other lower-income jobs.
  • Second-line service roles like retail key holders (+6.0 percent), customer service representatives (+5.2 percent) and technical support (+4.8 percent) saw strong pay growth in February. These roles are characterized as more human-centric, helping customers or users in ways that technology may not yet be able to replace.
  • Pay growth for truck drivers (+0.3 percent) and warehouse associates (+2.0 percent) has slowed substantially in February. At this point last year, truck drivers (+3.2 percent) and warehouse associates (+3.0 percent) were experiencing much faster pay growth. The decline in pay growth reflects ongoing headwinds from tariffs and the leading edge of supply chain disruption from the coronavirus outbreak. Trade & transportation job openings have declined 31.4 percent year-over-year, driven by similar trends.

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

Top 10 Job Titles with Fastest Pay Growth

Job TitleMedian Base PayYoY %
Loan Officer$54,44313.2%
Material Handler$39,9916.9%
Sales Representative$52,5436.8%
Security Officer$39,4586.5%
Maintenance Worker$42,7266.4%
Retail Key Holder$31,9386.0%
Financial Advisor$57,4305.5%
Customer Service Representative$38,9325.2%
Technical Support$48,3404.8%
Programmer Analyst$72,2984.5%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Top 10 Job Titles with Slowest Pay Growth

Job TitleMedian Base PayYoY %
Marketing Manager$66,360-1.4%
Professor$86,054-1.4%
Pharmacist$124,198-1.0%
Bartender$35,706-0.8%
Manufacturing Engineer$73,407-0.8%
Tax Manager$90,326-0.8%
Solutions Architect$104,770-0.4%
Construction Laborer$41,820-0.1%
Customer Service Manager$54,4900.1%
Delivery Driver$41,9140.1%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

You can view the full dataset of median base pay and pay growth by job title as of February 2020 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 publishes monthly ahead of the BLS jobs report and now includes 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 major 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 close to 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 3.6 percent in February.

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, any questions regarding the Job Market Report or this Friday’s BLS jobs report, please email pr@glassdoor.com.