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The job market trends that defined 2018

Jeffrey Marino,

This was definitely a year for the job market record books. The unemployment rate hit 3.7 percent in September, the lowest in half a century. In April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were more job openings in the U.S. than people out of work. Wages finally budged in October, breaking 3 percent growth for the first time in nine years.

Looking at the more than 8 million active job postings on ZipRecruiter each month, these are the jobs, cities, skills and trends that made 2018 such a fantastic year to be a job seeker.

Top industry: Health care

Fifteen percent of the 20 million-plus jobs posted to ZipRecruiter in 2018 were in the health care industry, making up the greatest share of all jobs posted on our marketplace this year.

Throughout the year, there was an average of 1.7 available health care jobs for every applicant, nationwide. The Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro area in New York had the highest average level of opportunity for health care workers in 2018, with 17 openings for every applicant.

Not only was registered nurse the most popular job title in the health care industry in 2018, it was the second most-popular job on ZipRecruiter all year after sales representative.

Best job market: Pittsburgh

Of the top 50 metro areas by population in the U.S., Pittsburgh had the highest average number of job openings compared to job seekers in 2018: There were 2.7 jobs for each applicant on average in every industry combined.

Pittsburgh also ranked highest among the top 50 metros for quality of life in our jobs market index, which includes commute time, walkability, access to public transit, housing affordability and health factors such as hospital beds per capita and the obesity rate.

One reason for Pittsburgh’s thriving market is that it has remained on the cutting edge of high tech. Home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group and the Robotics Learning Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, the city has become ground zero for advances in autonomous vehicle technology. Our data show it has the most openings for autonomous car jobs of any metro area, and it boasted an average of 1.5 tech jobs per applicant in 2018.

Jobs of the future

We’ve been tracking technologically induced job creation, such as jobs working with drones, autonomous vehicles and influencer marketing, since 2017. This was the year they really took off.

From January 2017 to November 2018, autonomous car jobs increased 594 percent and have seen double- or triple-digit annual percentage increases every month this year.

While Pittsburgh is the clear leader for AVs, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is not far behind: 1 in 5 AV jobs posted to ZipRecruiter in 2018 was in Ann Arbor, while 1 in 4 was in Pittsburgh.

Drone jobs also soared in 2018, increasing 275 percent year-over-year in November. Unlike with autonomous cars, drone jobs can be found all over the U.S. Los Angeles was the top metro for drone jobs in 2018, overtaking San Francisco, which was drone mecca in 2017. The City by the Bay is still host to plenty of drone jobs, however, along with Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston rounding out the top five.

While traditional advertising jobs declined in 2018, social media jobs showed steady growth. We compared job growth within the business marketing sector between all job titles related to advertising and all titles related to social media. In 2018 year-to-date, social media jobs increased 5 percent and traditional advertising jobs declined 63 percent as of November.

Clearly the reach, engagement and cost-effectiveness of social media have made it the key driver for job creation in marketing and business development.