Job vacancies in May hit a record high which is further proof that the economy is recovering from the pandemic showing that the demand for workers is high.
According to the Ministry of Labor data, job vacancies reached 9.2 million, roughly the same level as a month ago. They are about 30% higher than February 2020 before the pandemic.
Although the May data has not changed much since April, job vacancies in certain industries have declined, such as real estate, warehouses, and transportation. At the same time, other sectors continue to face staff shortages.
There was a slight increase in vacancies in restaurants and hotels in May, and the number of people who stopped working in these places also increased to just over 700,000. Overall, 3.6 million people resigned in May. This is less than the record 4 million in April, but it is still a high level of turnover.
“This report isn’t quite the barn-burner of last month, but the data do suggest that demand for workers is still very strong,” writes Nick Bunker, director of research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “The outlook for hiring remains bright.”
“The Bakers Table”, owner David Willocks managed to hire three staff recently. After 16 months of turmoil, he breathed a sigh of relief. During this period, he invited two family members and a chef friend from California to keep his restaurant running. In recent months, job opportunities that usually generate three to six applications have been sluggish.
But Willocks is optimistic about this. He says, “The workers who are showing up really want to be there. The pandemic gave them opportunities to assess their priorities and reimagine their lives — and they have determined that his restaurant is where they want to work“. So we’ve got drastically fewer applicants. Still, I’ve found that we’ve actually hired better people,” he adds.
Nevertheless, in this job market, Willox knew he must remain competitive. Even before the pandemic, his starting salary for kitchen work was $14 an hour, almost twice the minimum wage. Just last week, it introduced a profit-based bonus system for managers, so busy nights will be rewarded. You want to make sure that your team members see your restaurant as a place where they can grow.
Even with his new hires, Willocks’ staffing challenges aren’t over. Later this summer, he’ll be looking to bring on another four or five people for a new bakery he’s planning to open in the fall.