Job Market Report: U.S. Job Openings Stumble in November, Up Only 1.0 Percent


December 3, 2019

The U.S. labor market hit an unexpected speed bump in November. Glassdoor’s latest Job Market Report shows job openings grew at just 1.0 percent year-over-year, threatening to end the year on a sour note for a labor market that has been strong through 2019.

U.S. job openings in November on Glassdoor dipped to 5.81 million from 5.96 million in October, the lowest mark since eight months ago in March. The drop in job openings month-over-month was driven by a surprise decline in retail, which had previously shown strong momentum in the run-up to the holiday season, and in transportation & logistics, which is regressing after rapid inventory build-up last year during the early days of the trade war.

As shown in the figure below, annual growth in job openings has averaged 5.0 percent in 2019 up to November. This month’s 1.0 percent increase represents a notable deviation from the trend and the worst year-over-year growth figure since March.

Annual pay growth on Glassdoor stayed at 2.0 percent in November, with median base pay rising to $54,386 a year. In the last seven months, pay growth has stayed remarkably flat at 2.0 percent, indicating that despite a hot labor market for much of 2019, labor force slack and softening employer demand are still holding wage growth down.

Temporary headwinds like the General Motors-United Auto Workers (GM-UAW) strike and Census worker drawdown in October’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics dominated the topline figures, masking an otherwise healthy labor market. Indeed, labor market fundamentals through 2019 have been strong, with an average of 168,000 workers being added to payrolls each month. But small cracks have been visible, including stagnant pay growth. Additionally, our data signals employer demand may be softening. Overall, Glassdoor’s November data suggests there is a risk of a surprise slowdown at the end of the year in what would be a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise healthy year for the labor market.

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

Local Metro Trends in Job Opening and Pay Growth

  • Four out of the top ten metros we track in our Job Market Report saw job openings decline year-over-year in November. Houston (-9.2 percent) declined substantially, as the energy industry pulled back on hiring amidst a slowdown in shale production. Atlanta (-4.5 percent), Los Angeles (-0.5 percent) and Chicago (-0.2 percent) also saw job openings decline, driven by exposure to national trends pulling back on hiring in retail, transportation & logistics and manufacturing.
  • Seattle experienced the fastest growth in job openings on Glassdoor in November, up 7.2 percent annually. The increase in job openings was driven both by the internet & tech industry, dominated by powerhouses like Amazon, as well as public service sectors like health care, education and government.
  • After a 15-month streak as the metro with the fastest pay growth, San Francisco has finally fallen from the #1 spot, dropping to #3 behind Philadelphia (+3.0 percent) and Los Angeles (+2.9 percent). While San Francisco’s 2.7 percent annual pay growth is still healthy and above the national average, slowing pay growth and mediocre job openings growth may signal that the labor market in the Bay Area is slowing.

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

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

AreaJob OpeningsYoY %Median Base PayYoY %
U.S. National5,807,1961.0%$54,3862.0%
Seattle115,1697.2%$64,8921.9%
Boston148,9945.5%$62,8862.6%
Washington DC182,9774.1%$62,7502.0%
Philadelphia109,9141.5%$58,0673.0%
San Francisco146,8921.2%$74,5262.7%
New York City303,0130.8%$65,6732.6%
Los Angeles212,692-0.2%$63,9052.9%
Chicago192,098-0.5%$59,1432.4%
Atlanta114,839-4.5%$56,1712.2%
Houston91,575-9.2%$57,3361.5%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Trends in Job Opening Growth

  • The weakness in November job openings growth was largely driven by declines in retail (-7.5 percent) and transportation & logistics (-17.8 percent). The retail decline in particular was surprising given the strong momentum the industry had shown in job openings in the run-up to the holiday season. While job openings growth was above average in August and September, holiday worker demand seems to have peaked in early October and fallen further in November. This might simply reflect better and earlier preparation by retail employers, who at this point last year were still scrambling to find workers to meet holiday demand.
  • Job openings in the transportation & logistics industry dropped 17.8 percent year-over-year. Even as holiday spending increasingly moves online and seasonal demand for truck drivers and warehouse workers increases, demand is not nearly as hot as it was at the same point in 2018. Last year, demand for transportation & logistics was inflated as businesses bolstered inventories in anticipation of tariff increases.
  • The good news for manufacturing is that the GM-UAW strike last month doesn’t appear to have spilled over into long-term effects in November; the bad news is that the fundamentals are still putting downward pressure on the industry. Optimism for an initial trade deal between the U.S. and China faded in November, and the ongoing trade war continues to hammer manufacturing, pulling job openings down by 10.1 percent year-over-year.

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

Top 5 Industries with Fastest Growth in Job Openings

IndustryJob OpeningsYoY %
Internet & Tech88,42225.2%
Accounting & Legal49,22021.4%
Government120,07816.2%
Construction68,61815.5%
Consumer Electronics10,38614.6%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Top 5 Industries with Slowest Growth in Job Openings

IndustryJob OpeningsYoY %
Private Security22,768-21.9%
Business Services11,805-18.1%
Energy & Utilities47,523-18.0%
Transportation & Logistics261,092-17.8%
Travel & Tourism86,759-16.4%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Growth in Job Openings by Employer Size

Employer SizeJob OpeningsYoY %
<51621,40627.7%
51-200496,67511.7%
201-500478,74513.3%
501-1000352,8943.6%
1001-5000941,968-0.4%
5000+2,488,764-6.2%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

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

Trends in Pay Growth

  • Pay for recruiters has accelerated in November, increasing 3.8 percent year-over-year. As the unemployment rate hits generational lows, the battle for talent has grown increasingly competitive. Employers facing persistent worker shortages are not just trying to attract workers through better pay or new benefits; they’re also investing in the candidate experience and looking for the best recruiters who can help them navigate a historically tight labor market. 
  • Annual pay for construction laborers increased 4.9 percent year-over-year in November. October was the best month for new building permits since 2007 as lower interest rates spur demand for building. Employers are hard pressed for qualified workers, pushing wages higher as the construction industry at large faces a 15.5 percent increase in job openings year-over-year. 

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

Top 10 Job Titles with Fastest Pay Growth

Job TitleMedian Base PayYoY %
Machine Operator$41,8155.9%
Loan Officer$49,7165.5%
Financial Advisor$57,0024.9%
Construction Laborer$42,7674.9%
Security Officer$36,9994.7%
Pharmacy Technician$32,6974.4%
Recruiter$53,2503.8%
Design Engineer$74,6533.7%
Claims Adjuster$55,0823.7%
Certified Nursing Assistant$29,2253.6%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Top 10 Job Titles with Slowest Pay Growth

Job TitleMedian Base PayYoY %
Communications Manager$67,838-1.8%
Java Developer$77,102-1.3%
Program Manager$75,528-1.2%
Pharmacist$125,963-0.8%
Business Development Manager$70,544-0.1%
Web Designer$54,2780.2%
Human Resources Manager$72,2300.4%
Operations Analyst$56,9190.4%
Licensed Practical Nurse$44,2960.6%
Project Manager$76,0270.6%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

You can view the full dataset of median base pay and pay growth by job title as of November 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 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 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. Here’s what we’re expecting in the November jobs report:

  • 200,000 new jobs added to payrolls;
  • Unemployment rate down to 3.5 percent;
  • Average hourly wage growth steady at 3.0 percent; and
  • Labor force participation steady at 63.3 percent.

We expect an above average report in November, reflecting the end of temporary headwinds from the October report, including the GM-UAW strike and the drawdown in temporary Census workers. The strike likely removed 42,000 workers from payrolls in October and the Census drawdown pushed down payrolls another 20,000. Strike-affected workers rejoining payrolls should provide a temporary boost to November’s report.

On the flip side, Glassdoor data does signal weakening employer demand, particularly in retail and transportation & logistics as a potential downside risk, but that may be due to hiring pulled forward earlier into the holiday season, leaving November’s report unaffected. 

Ultimately, the labor market remains healthy and November’s report should reflect that with healthy payroll numbers and steady if not improved unemployment and wage growth.

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.