March Jobs Report Shows 236k Jobs Added, Engineering Contributes

236K jobs added, with Engineering sector seeing growth

Another 236K jobs were added and unemployment dropped slightly to 3.5% in March’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Report. Professional and Business services, the sector that includes Engineering, added 39K jobs with manufacturing contributing to 6.7K of those jobs. Manufacturing saw a slight dip, with the loss of just 1,000 jobs last month.

This month's jobs report is much more in line with analysts' predictions, which could signal a "cooling down" of the labor market with the possibility of the hiring activity losing momentum. However, with the shortage of in-demand skills in STEM, our Progressive Recruitment experts are still seeing ongoing demand for hiring. All eyes are now on the Federal Reserve as this is the last monthly employment snapshot before their next meeting in May where a decision of a third quarter-point rate hike will be made.

Key Engineering Industry Jobs Report Insights

  • 236K Total Jobs Added
  • 6.7K Jobs Added in Engineering Sector
  • 39K Jobs Added in Professional and Business Services

What’s Next for STEM Hiring in Energy and Manufacturing?

 Energy jobs rebounded after sharply declining in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The introduction of new technologies has resulted in the growth of a new workforce — one that is highly skilled in engineering, automation, and robotics. Between now and 2030, there will be an estimated 4 million manufacturing jobs to fill. The challenge is finding enough skilled professionals to fill those roles. Competition for talent will mean companies will have to pay premium wages and consider benefits such as hybrid and remote-work flexibility.

In 2021, energy jobs grew 4.0% from 2020, outpacing overall U.S. employment (2.8%)

Demand Outpaces Skilled Worker Supply

  • Manufacturing – 644K job openings and 379K hires 
  • Natural Resources & Mining - 32K job openings and 22K hires
  • Mechanical Engineering - nearly 18K job openings predicted yearly by 2031

*As of writing, all data is from Februrary BLS Industries at a Glance

There are occupations within the energy sector that don’t require a postsecondary degree – making it attractive for job seekers. Two of the fastest growing are solar photovoltaic (PV) panel installers and windtechs. They’re needed as the use of solar and wind power grows. They pay more than the 2019 median annual wage for all occupations ($39,810) and PV installers typically only need a high school diploma or equivalent. Companies with solid on-the-job training can attract the workforce they need to keep up with demand.

Don’t overlook professionals in neighboring industries. Oil and gas professionals that have worked in project management, engineering, construction, finance or operations are most likely to have the skills needed to work in solar or wind energy. If you’re serious about transitioning to a career in renewable energy, seek out opportunities to improve your transferable skills or gain new ones. The Association of Energy Engineers offers over 20 different certifications that can be valuable to you in your career.

Read more: How to get a job in the Renewable Energy Industry

Career Outlooks

  • Project Managers - These roles are in high demand as organizations look to maximize their budgets and time while staying on track with spending, schedules, and resources. The Project Management Institute projects there will be demand for nearly 88 million project manager oriented roles worldwide by 2027. To attract these highly qualified professionals, employers will have to think hard about the pay and benefits they offer, from higher salaries to flexible working.
  • Wind & Solar Energy - More solar and wind energy infrastructure will need to be put in place over the next ten years to meet demand. This requires a variety of workers, including solar PV installers and windtechs. Over 50% more of these workers are projected to be needed by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Mechanical Engineering - Advances in STEM are expanding the responsibilities and applications for mechanical engineering skills. These professionals have different career paths to choose from – including aerospace, automotive, construction, energy, pharmaceuticals and robotics.
  • Electrical Engineering - Electrical engineers are in such high demand that many companies are restructuring their benefits and compensation packages to attract top talent. The field of electrical engineering has also branched out into a wide range of subfields – so engineers can serve a wide range of roles.
  • Food & Beverage Manufacturing - Food and beverage companies need talented people to embrace the digital transformation sweeping the industry. Despite widespread concern that technology is replacing workers, it is also increasing the need for human input in some areas of the market. Total employment in the food and beverage manufacturing industry is more than 1.8 million. But key engineering talent is becoming ever more crucial – and more difficult to find.

Customized, End-to-End Staffing & Recruiting for Energy Industry

With deep knowledge of multiple industries in the energy and manufacturing sector, Progressive is uniquely positioned to help employers and job seekers succeed in changing environments. Contact us today to see how we can connect you with the top players across the industry.


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