August 2018 Jobs Report: U.S. Sees 95 Straight Months of Job Gains

By Robert Half September 7, 2018 at 7:14am

Employers added 201,000 jobs in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That marks the 95th consecutive month of job growth in the United States. Job gains have totaled more than 1.6 million so far this year, and they have averaged 185,000 per month over the past three months.

These sectors added the most jobs in August:

  • Education and health services: 53,000 jobs added
  • Professional and business services: 53,000 jobs added
  • Construction: 23,000 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 22,400 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 20,200 jobs added

August unemployment rate

The unemployment rate held steady in August, at 3.9 percent. The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older — the most in-demand group of professionals — edged down slightly to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent in July.

What employers need to know

In this job market, employers need to do all they can to speed the time to hire, or they may struggle to staff open roles. Robert Half research shows that 57 percent of job seekers lose interest in a position when the hiring process takes too long

Salary negotiation is often one of the biggest drags on getting a candidate to sign on the dotted line. So, you must be well-prepared to enter these discussions with potential hires and quickly reach a fair deal that leaves you both feeling satisfied. 

Expect in-demand talent to come to the table ready to talk numbers with you. Use resources like Robert Half’s annual Salary Guides to make sure you’re aware of the current pay range for a particular position in your city. The guides can also help you determine when you need to sweeten the deal to account for hard-to-find skills or certifications. 

While you’re at it, consider reviewing the salaries for your existing staff: A survey by Robert Half found that almost half of U.S. workers feel they are underpaid. You don’t want to risk losing valued team members, many of whom no doubt recognize that they have options in the current hiring environment.

What job seekers need to know

If you have in-demand skills and experience, the current hiring market is probably brimming with job opportunities for you. The BLS reports that, at the end of June, more than 6.7 million jobs in the United States were waiting to be filled. Employers are having a hard time finding enough skilled talent to hire.

Because of these dynamics, you may find you’re in the driver’s seat when you enter salary negotiations with a potential employer. Don’t hesitate to push your advantage. But keep in mind that you’ll be much more successful at getting what you want from these discussions if you come prepared. Take time to research current and emerging salary trends for your job, skills and local area. (Robert Half’s Salary Calculator is a great tool to get that process started.)

Also, read up on salary negotiation tips. Here are two quick ones: 

  1. Be honest about your needs and expectations. 
  2. And be willing to state a specific number or range. 

These strategies will help you and the hiring manager to figure out quickly if you’re on the same page — or if you can eventually get there. If not, you can both decide whether it makes sense to keep moving forward with the hiring process.

Let us help you find the right fit

An infographic summarizing the August 2018 jobs report and survey data from Robert Half

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