There’s good news for job seekers: employers in southeast Michigan are hiring. During the second quarter of 2017 (Q2 2017), the region’s unemployment rate reached 3.8 percent—a low not seen since 2001. Yet, even with the number of job postings on an upward trend year-to-year, a stagnant labor force portends more workers will be needed to meet future employer demand in the region. These latest findings and more are analyzed in the Q2 2017 labor market reports, compiled by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) for a 16-county area in southeast Michigan and other regions.

People are finding jobs, but employers face challenges filling them

Job postings continue to increase—slowly but steadily—while the region’s labor market remains relatively the same. This is because though job postings increased by one percent in between the first and second quarters of 2017, the labor market experienced a slight decrease of 4,406 people in the same timeframe due to natural churning of the economy as it continues to rebound after the recession. When looking at Q2 2017 postings in comparison to Q2 2016 postings, year-to-year employer demand was 16 percent higher with 22,175 additional jobs posted this year, likely because of continued economic growth in the region.

“With the gap between employer demand and labor force growth widening, employers in the region will likely experience increased hiring challenges,” said Alex Rosaen, Director of Data Analytics at WIN. “Efforts to train workers for available jobs and educate jobseekers about in-demand opportunities remain a top priority in the region.

Soft skills increasing in importance

Though in-demand technical skills, desired education and/or experience, and salary ranges varied among the eleven occupation groups analyzed for the region, nearly every occupation group indicated “communications,” “writing,” or both among the top in-demand employability skills.

“We are seeing soft skills becoming more and more important to employers in every occupation and industry sector,” said Rosaen. “To ensure that jobseekers are equipped with in-demand soft skills, it is important that we continue to connect employers with training and education partners to offer these opportunities.”

What jobs are available and what do they pay?

Registered nurses remain the most in-demand job in southeast Michigan, overtaking truck drivers. Overall, the region’s top in-demand jobs included:

  • Registered Nurses: 9,638 job postings
  • Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers: 7,901 job postings
  • Software Developers, Applications: 5,757 job postings
  • Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical & Scientific: 4,932 job postings
  • Retail Salespersons: 4,585 job postings

The Engineering & Design and IT occupation groups offered higher than average advertised salaries than other occupation groups. These two groups continue to promote the highest average salaries, though most jobs within these groups require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field

The average wage advertised in postings during Q2 2017 were as follows, listed alphabetically:

  • Agriculture: $42,000
  • Business and Finance: $60,000
  • Construction: $49,000
  • Customer Service: $52,000 (although most postings listed wages below $35,000)
  • Education: $56,000
  • Energy: $49,000
  • Engineers and Designers (manufacturing focused): $84,000
  • Health Care: $63,000
  • Information Technology (IT): $91,000
  • Skilled Trades and Technicians: $39,000 (although most postings listed wages below $35,000)
  • Transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL): $60,000

The full Q2 2017 labor market report for the 16-county region analyzed by WIN, as well as WIN’s other latest data and research projects and reports are available at:

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