Which Industries are Adding Jobs? January Jobs Report

This Friday, Americans will get the first update on the 2017 job market from the federal government. Here’s what we’ll be watching for in the January jobs report from the BLS:

  • 172,000 new jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in December.
  • Unemployment rate down to 4.6 percent.
  • Average hourly wages up 2.7 percent from one year ago.
  • Labor force participation rate down to 62.5 percent.

Who Is Hiring Today?

There have been several high-profile announcements of companies adding jobs in the past month. Amazon announced it intends to hire 100,000 workers in the next 18 months, ranging from software engineers to warehouse associates. Grocery giant Kroger announced it’s adding 10,000 jobs. And even Pizza Hut announced it plans to fill 11,000 new jobs in the wake of this year’s Super Bowl.

Aside from these companies, what sectors of the economy are really hiring today? Let’s take a quick look at where the most job openings are in America today.

There are about 5.52 million job openings in America, according to the latest November figures from BLS’s JOLTS survey. Let’s take a closer look at the industries that are adding the most jobs.

Of the total 5.5 million job openings today, 68 percent are in just five industries — health care, professional services, retail, hospitality and food services, and government – with the top two industries making up nearly 40 percent of open jobs.

Health Care is a Jobs Machine

First is health care. For years, America’s health care industry has been rapidly adding jobs. Today it dominates the landscape of job openings in America. Health care produces about 7.4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic output, but accounts for nearly 20 percent of the economy’s open jobs – a disproportionate impact on the hiring market. Today, there are a staggering 1.033 million health care jobs open nationwide, about one-fifth of all job openings. And, on Glassdoor’s latest report of the Best Jobs in America, there is a heavy concentration of jobs within the healthcare industry including occupational therapist, nurse practitioner, and pharmacy manager.

Second is professional and business services. This is a very broad industry that includes everything from Silicon Valley tech employers to management consultants in New York City. It produces about 12.4 percent of the nation’s output but accounts for 18 percent of today’s job openings. In total, there are 984,000 open jobs today in the professional and business services sector. Unsurprisingly, technology jobs dominated the Best Jobs in America and data scientist ranked No. 1 this year.

Third and fourth are two industries that are similar in many ways from the standpoint of workers: retail trade, and accommodation and food services. Most jobs in these two sectors are low-paying and low-skilled jobs. Together these two industries produce about 8.9 percent of America’s gross output, but account for a whopping 24 percent of job openings today—nearly one in four open jobs.

Finally is government. It may come as a surprise to many job seekers, but state and local governments today have a huge number of open jobs – 468,000 openings – and are the fifth largest industry in terms of number of open positions today. Although the new Trump administration has put a freeze on federal hiring, state and local jobs are unaffected. Jobs in this sector are very diverse, ranging from local transportation crews filling potholes to state Medicaid program administrators. State and local governments today contribute 8.9 percent to the nation’s output, and make up about 8 percent of open jobs.

Where Are Job Openings in America Today?

Industry Job Openings (November 2016) Percent of U.S. Total
Health care 1,033,000 19%
Professional and business services 984,000 18%
Retail trade 653,000 12%
Accommodation and food services 643,000 12%
State and local government 468,000 8%
Finance and insurance 268,000 5%
Other services 189,000 3%
Transportation, warehousing and utilities 186,000 3%
Manufacturing: Durable goods 185,000 3%
Construction 184,000 3%
Wholesale trade 183,000 3%
Manufacturing: Nondurable goods 139,000 3%
Education 87,000 2%
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 82,000 1%
Federal government 81,000 1%
Information (media) 76,000 1%
Real estate, rental and leasing 64,000 1%
Mining and logging 17,000 0%
Total 5,522,000

Source: BLS “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey” (JOLTS).

Manufacturing Delivers Few Jobs

It’s worth noting that America’s much-debated manufacturing sector is one of the smallest job producers in the nation right now. Although the U.S. manufacturing sector is massively productive and accounts for 11.8 percent of the nation’s output, there are only about 185,000 job openings for durable goods manufacturing today—the sector that includes most hard-working automobile and machine-building jobs that feature prominently in national political debates. That amounts to just 3 percent of today’s job openings.

The rest of today’s manufacturing job openings are in what’s called “non-durable” manufacturing—jobs like making pre-packaged food, paper products, and running machines in textile mills. These jobs are much less often held up as an ideal in political debates. There are 139,000 open jobs in non-durable manufacturing today, about 3 percent of the total.

Among all American industries, there is one that is adding essentially zero jobs today: the mining and logging industry. Those industries account for about 2.3 percent of the nation’s economic output, but are hiring for just 0.3 percent of jobs. Nationwide, there are only 17,000 job openings in those two industries—fewer job postings than some single large U.S. employers today.

The Wage Growth Picture

Last month’s jobs report showed a big jump in wages, with average hourly earnings up 2.9 percent from one year ago—the fastest pace since June 2009. We expect this trend toward rising pay to continue, thanks to continued low unemployment and near-record numbers of open jobs.

In January, our Glassdoor Local Pay Report showed U.S. median pay for full-time workers rose 3.2 percent from one year ago. Gains were particularly strong among retail jobs like store manager, recruiters and in the health care sector.  Read our full analysis of the latest pay growth figures here.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about this month’s jobs report or labor market trends, contact pr [at] glassdoor [dot] com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, subscribe to email alerts here and follow @adchamberlain.