The U.S. economy saw job gains of 661,000 in September, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The leisure and hospitality sector led the way with hiring, adding 318,000 jobs. Other sectors that saw job growth last month include:

  • Retail trade: 142,400 jobs added
  • Professional and business services: 89,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 73,600 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 66,000 jobs added
  • Education and health services: 40,000 jobs added

Employers added 145,000 more jobs than previously reported in July and August. July’s job gains were revised up by 27,000, and August’s gains were revised up by 118,000.

What employers need to know

Although there are more candidates in the job market now, finding skilled talent for open positions can still be a struggle. When you identify a potential hire, you want to be ready to move quickly with a compelling offer. 

Benchmarking salaries confirms that your business is offering compensation that aligns with trends in your industry and region. Resources that can aid in your research include:

  • Robert Half’s Salary Guides, newly updated for 2021, which offer in-depth compensation and hiring data for a range of professional fields
  • Our Salary Calculator, which allows you to compares starting salaries for more than 450 job titles in over 530 U.S. cities

Starting compensation is always high on the list of reasons potential employees accept or decline a job offer. But perks and benefits are a big plus, too. While the COVID-19 pandemic has made things like on-site fitness facilities and breakroom snacks less relevant for now, perks like flexible schedules and paid parental leave remain very on point. Many workers also value health insurance, paid time off and retirement savings plans.

What job seekers need to know

You’ve spent hours scrutinizing job listings, researching employers and customizing your application for every opportunity you respond to. So, when you land an interview, of course you’re going to practice what you plan to say to the hiring manager, right? Just make sure your preparation includes getting ready to talk about compensation.

It’s generally best to not raise the topic of money too early in the process. You want to focus on your interest in the position and the company instead of how much you might earn. But discussions about compensation could come up in the first formal interview — or even during the initial phone screen. You should know going in what salary you’d be willing to accept.

Use resources like the 2021 Salary Guides from Robert Half to find out what the average salary is for the position you’re pursuing, based on your skills, experience and location. Robert Half’s Salary Calculator is another useful tool for quickly customizing salary figures for your local market. 

Don’t focus solely on salary when deciding what you need in a job offer. There are a whole host of things to consider — professional development opportunities, bonus potential, vacation time, health insurance, retirement benefits and flexible scheduling options, to name a few. If an employer can’t meet you on the amount of salary you’d like to earn, think about what perks and benefits might enhance the job offer and help bridge the salary gap.

For more strategies on how to prepare for salary discussions with potential employers, check out these blog posts:

Read the infographic text.


661,000 JOBS ADDED*




Unemployment RateUnemployment Rate for College Grads
October '19 3.6% 2.1%
November '193.5% 2.0%
December '193.5% 1.9%
January '203.6% 2.0%
February '20 3.5%1.9%
March '20 4.4%2.5%
April '20 14.7%8.4%
May '20 13.3% 7.4%
June '20 11.1% 6.9%
July '2010.2% 6.7%
August '20 8.4%5.3%
September '20 7.9% 4.8%

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

**College-degreed workers 25 and older

See what these results mean for job seekers and employers at


53% of senior managers have hired full-time or temporary staff remotely since the pandemic began.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 senior managers in the U.S.

© 2020 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.