Job Openings, Pay Inched Up Slightly in May

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The job market continues to hum along nicely, with both the number of openings and median pay increasing slightly, according to the most-recent Glassdoor Job Market Report.

The number of open positions climbed by 2% to 5,762,175, up from 5.69 million in May 2018. Pay rose by 2%, with the median worker in the United States earning $53,273.

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It's a very hot job market, with literally more openings than workers available to fill them. That creates a situation where workers -- at least those in some high-demand fields -- have more leverage than they normally would.

What jobs saw big increases?

As has generally been the case, most of the jobs seeing the biggest increases pay below the median annual salary. That's true of nine of the 10 positions on the following list of jobs with the fastest pay growth. Only truck driver -- a job that has severe worker shortages -- comes in above the median. That's probably aided by Walmart, which has been recruiting drivers and paying nearly double the median rate.

Job Title

Median Base Pay

YOY %

Pharmacy technician

$31,772

7.8%

Machine operator

$40,212

5.3%

Truck driver

$55,694

5.2%

Cashier

$28,311

4.5%

Bank teller

$32,157

4.2%

Office manager

$48,109

4.1%

Restaurant manager

$51,166

4%

Delivery driver

$41,049

3.7%

Emergency medical technician

$35,276

3.6%

Security officer

$35,799

3.5%

A number of higher-paying jobs have seen their pay slow down, but that's relative when you consider that most of the jobs on the following list pay well above the median. In fact, the only surprise on this list may be that restaurant servers saw a slight drop in median base pay.

Job Title

Median Base Pay

YOY %

Business development manager

$68,801

(2%)

Financial advisor

$53,118

(2%)

Maintenance worker

$40,957

(1.8%)

Attorney

$97,925

(1.7%)

Program manager

$74,666

(1%)

Server

$33,369

(0.4%)

Human resources manager

$69,245

(0.2%)

Pharmacist

$127,267

(0.2%)

Programmer analyst

$69,214

(0.2%)

Professor

$86,819

(0.3%)

What does this mean?

It's generally a good time to be a worker, but employees at the bottom of the pay scale are still struggling. Many large retailers, for example, have increased wages, but the numbers for people in less-skilled and unskilled jobs are still hard, or impossible, to live on.

These numbers basically tell Americans that education and skill matter. If you want to make a salary above the median, you need to have some level of specialized skill. That doesn't always mean college -- a truck driver has specific training but doesn't need a degree -- but to get paid, it's very clear you need training or school.

The economy shows no sign of slowing down, and that should continue to drive wages for lower-paying jobs higher. Workers in those jobs, however, need to make an effort to learn the skills needed to advance beyond those positions.

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Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.