Even after another strong jobs report today, views on the US labor market remain polarized. Some argue it’s as strong as it’s ever been: the unemployment rate sits at record low levels, the manufacturing sector is creating jobs again, and wage growth has picked up.
Others counter that wage growth remains too weak and unevenly distributed and that employment has become bifurcated between a shrinking share of highly paid jobs and a growing number of poorly paid service sector occupations, with technological advances set to eliminate a vast number of jobs and dampen wage growth.
This stark divergence of views stems in part from the fact that technological innovation has made traditional statistics much less useful in understanding underlying trends in labor markets. In particular, they tell us very little about how technology is changing the demand and supply for skills—hence the debate on whether or not the US economy suffers from a skills gap.
Technology, however, also brings new insights. ZipRecruiter, for example, has emerged as a leading artificial intelligence-powered online employment marketplace to match employers and job seekers. It started by serving mostly small and medium enterprises, before expanding its services to include helping large companies with their hiring needs. Its marketplace now covers a large and representative section of the US labor market, with 200 million job applications submitted during 2018.
Since it handles both job postings and job-seeking applications, ZipRecruiter can gather granular data on which types of occupations are on the rise or declining, which skills are more in demand, and what strategies employers are adopting to secure talent.
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