The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, according to the Department of Labor. That's fewer than the 671,000 jobs anticipated by economists but still far better than the 266,000 jobs added in April. The national unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.8%.
"People are beginning to travel, eat out in restaurants, and enjoy leisure in person ― and employees are needed for businesses across the country to support this resurgence," says Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder. "According to CareerBuilder data, a large amount of U.S. states showed double-digit job-posting growth in May, with a majority still seeing an increase in job postings."
If you're in the market for a new job, here are nine in-demand roles in some of the industries with high numbers of job openings in May, as well as their median annual salaries. You can find listings for these jobs on sites like Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and CareerBuilder.
With high post-vaccination demand for dining out, travel, and personal care services like haircuts and manicures, leisure and hospitality continues to be the U.S. industry seeing the most growth. The industry had 292,000 new openings in May, with more than 186,000 of those at "food services and drinking places," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the industry's most in-demand roles include:
Line cook: The backbone of a professional kitchen, these cooks prepare orders, clean cooking areas, and ensure a restaurant's food and ingredients are fresh.
- Median annual salary: $27,250
Hair stylist: Stylists wash, cut, color, and style hair; help clients find the best products for their hair; and ensure all work spaces are clean and disinfected. They must be licensed by the state in order to work.
- Median annual salary: $27,630
Restaurant manager: Restaurant managers run the daily operations of their establishments. They hire and train new staff, order supplies like food and beverages, manage budgets and payroll, and address customer complaints.
- Median annual salary: $56,590
E-commerce surged during the pandemic, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting that Americans spent $791.7 billion on online purchases in 2020, up 32.4% from 2019. Demand for workers to pack and transport all those purchases remains high, and the transportation and warehousing sector added 23,000 jobs in May. One job is particularly in demand.
Truck driver: Truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. They inspect trailers for defects before trips, secure cargo for transport, drive lengthy distances to reach their destinations, and keep trucks clean.
- Median annual salary: $47,130 (for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers)
With schools and universities reopening, the sector added 144,000 new positions in May. Among the roles most in demand:
Elementary school teacher: Elementary school teachers instruct young children in subjects like science, history, reading, and math. They create lesson plans, assign homework and grade it, update parents on their children's progress, and help students overcome learning challenges. These positions require a bachelor's degree and a state-approved license or certification.
- Median annual salary: $60,660
Assistant professor: Assistant professor is typically the entry-level position for teaching at public and private colleges and universities, below associate and full professors. They specialize in many subjects, from engineering to art. Job duties include conducting research, teaching classes, advising students, and attending faculty meetings and events. This position requires both a bachelor's and graduate degree. Applicants must also pass the GRE.
- Median annual salary: $70,000
Video by Courtney Stith
The professional and business services sector added 35,000 jobs in May. A few office roles that have an especially high number of positions open include:
Customer service representative: These professionals are the face and voice of an organization, serving as the first point of contact for many customers. They field customers' questions, report their issues to higher-ups, and provide information about products and services.
- Median annual salary: $35,830
Project manager: Project managers plan, organize, and direct teams to complete company projects. Their duties include initiating the project, planning it, monitoring a team as they execute, and ensuring all deadlines and budgets are met. These positions often require a bachelor's degree.
- Median annual salary: $75,000
Software engineer: Software engineers design computer programs and smartphone apps, monitor their functionality to ensure they are running smoothly, and document changes for future reference. These jobs typically require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
- Median annual salary: $87,000
While getting a job in a new industry can seem daunting, you can put your best foot forward by focusing on the aspects of your previous and desired jobs that overlap.
"The future of hiring is based on transferable skills ― the idea that the skills you've gained throughout your career can be applied to multiple roles and industries," says Novoselsky.
"For example," she says, "a displaced flight attendant may have interpersonal skills, the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently, and the ability to work as a team and independently. Those skills line up with positions in sales and even customer service ― both of which are consistently in-demand roles."
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