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August Market Trends Report

A worker in a hard hat and reflective vest works on a solar panel

The U.S. economy added 528,000 jobs in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Summary. The latest BLS report shows continued growth in industrial sectors including manufacturing and construction.

The construction sector saw the largest job gains among industrial sectors in July, adding 32,000 jobs. Both residential and nonresidential specialty trade contractors added more than 10,000 jobs in July, while construction’s unemployment rate maintained at its lowest rate in four years.

Manufacturing employment also continued to trend up, adding 30,000 jobs in July. In manufacturing, durable goods employers added 21,000 jobs while nondurable goods employers added 9,000 jobs. The PMI Manufacturing Index registered at 52.8% in July, indicating growth for the 26th consecutive month.

Job openings decrease in major industrial sectors

The latest Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, which runs a month behind the BLS Employment Situation Summary, showed there were 10.7 million job openings across the economy in June. That’s little changed from April, when there were 11.7 million job openings.


Job openings continued to fall in the major industrial sectors. After seeing 200,000 less job openings in May, there were 26,000 less job openings in manufacturing in June. Meanwhile there were 334,000 job openings in June in the construction sector, 71,000 less than there were in May. In construction, it was the second straight month of decreasing job openings for a sector that had seen consistent growth in openings since December 2021.

While job openings dipped for the second straight month, openings still remain at or above pre-pandemic levels in industrial sectors. According to JOLTS data, the 790,000 openings in manufacturing is still more than was recorded at any point prior to April 2021.

Employers remain active, offering benefits to attract workers

While job openings dipped in June, JOLTS data shows that companies are continuing to hire across industrial sectors. Manufacturers hired 475,000 workers in June, up 7,000 from the 468,000 workers the sector reported hiring in May. The increase was led by a spike in nondurable goods manufacturing, where employers hired 233,000 workers in June – up 14,000 over May. Meanwhile, workers are continuing to quit at high rates. Voluntary quits, as measured by BLS, remained above 4 million for the 13th consecutive month.

On August 9, Indeed reported that job postings are well above their pre-pandemic baseline. Additionally, employers continue to offer carrots to attract workers to jobs. Indeed said “some 5.2% of job postings on Indeed advertised signing bonuses, more than three times higher than in the same month in 2019, but below the December 2021 peak.”

Jobs Market Overview


July's Overall Unemployment Rate

For the first time, the unemployment rate returned to its level in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Jobs Added in July

Job growth in July included spikes in industrial sectors including manufacturing and construction.


Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR)

The labor force participation and the employment-population ratio (60.0%) were little changed over the month.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)

Industry Employment Trends




Monthly Job Change

(+4.2% YoY Difference)

Industry Monthly Job Change YoY Difference
Manufacturing +30k +3.9%
Automotive -2k +4.3%
Warehouse & Storage -1.6k +8.5%
Architectural & Engineering +12.5k +6.3%
Construction +32k +4.2%
Consumer Services +128k +6.5%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary

The Aerotek Take

“Filling available jobs continues to be a struggle for employers who aren’t prepared to face what remains a competitive job market. There are now fewer than .6 unemployed workers per job opening, not far from the record low of .5 set back in March. Candidates have choices, so it’s important for employers to be considering how appealing their company is – from the job listing through the hiring process.”

Bill Ruff, Vice President of Strategic Sales

Spotlight: Renewable Energy

The renewable energy sector continues to experience growth, and that growth is expected to continue as federal measures pave the way for more projects across the United States.

In 2021, energy jobs grew 4.0% from 2020, outpacing overall U.S. employment. The energy sector added more than 300,000 jobs, increasing the total number of energy jobs from 7.5 million in 2020 to more than 7.8 million in 2021. More than 3 million of the 7.8 million jobs in the US energy sector are in areas aligned to America’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Growth in 2021 was led by a 5.4 percent increase year-over-year in solar employment (+17,212 jobs) and a 2.9 percent increase (+3,347 jobs) in wind. Meanwhile, fossil fuel jobs fell as the petroleum sector lost 31,593 jobs (-6.4%) and coal fuel employment decreased by 7,125 jobs (-11.8%).

That growth is expected to continue. But to accommodate growth, employers will need to do a better job of finding workers.

In every solar sub-industry, a vast majority of employers reported difficulty hiring workers, according to the 2022 United States Energy and Employment Report. Construction had the greatest difficulty hiring workers among all sub-industries, with over 92% of employers reporting some difficulty finding qualified workers and 40% claiming it was “very difficult.” 

Meanwhile, four out of the six industries in solar expect growth in 2022: Utilities (6.9%), manufacturing (5.5%), professional and business services (4.1%), and construction (2.0%).

According to the BLS, employment of wind turbine technicians is projected to grow 68 percent from 2020 to 2030 -- faster than any occupation. Employment of solar photovoltaic installers is projected to grow 52 percent from 2020 to 2030 – third fastest, just 0.1 percent behind nurse practitioners.

That growth will only be aided by The Inflation Reduction Act, signed by President Biden on August 16. The Inflation Reduction Act expands clean energy tax credits for wind, solar, nuclear, clean hydrogen, clean fuels and carbon capture. That includes a bonus credit for businesses that pay workers a prevailing wage and hire using registered apprenticeship programs.

To meet the demand for talent, the World Economic Forum – among others – have called for an acceleration of reskilling and training. 

According to joint report released by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, entitled “The workforce experience in manufacturing: Does manufacturing need to recast its image?,” 58 percent of respondents surveyed in manufacturing jobs feel they have limited career prospects, but 80% might be interested in roles with enhanced training and clear career paths. 

From Upskilling programs that empower employees with new skills to outreach and education, the most successful companies are going an extra mile to recruit and retain talent. According to the report, manufacturing executives also recognized they could expand the talent pool with more diversity and balanced gender representation.


The Fall of Unemployment from July 2021 to July 2022

Data showing the unemployment rate has fallen from July 2021 to July 2022 in every industry including manufacturing, construction, repair & maintenance, utilities and transportation & warehousing

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployed Persons by Industry

Spotlight: The Aerotek Take

“Construction companies are struggling to find the people they need to reach project milestones and completion deadlines. If you want to be successful in a candidate driven market (like the one we face today), you have to focus on your staffing strategy before your projects start. By working with a partner like Aerotek that is in touch with today’s labor market – you’ll be equipped to overcome hiring challenges. Aerotek brings resources to help scale anywhere in the country, and has helped many of the top renewable energy organizations win in a unique marketplace.“

Mike Mulheron, Business Development Executive

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