Coronavirus and US Job Postings Through May 22: Data from Indeed.com
The trend in job postings was 35% lower than in 2019 as of May 22 — the third week of improvement.
We will be regularly updating this data as we track how coronavirus impacts the global labor market.
The global economy has slowed dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. The trend in job postings — a real-time measure of labor market activity — is 35.1% lower than in 2019, as of May 22. The trend has improved slightly over the past three weeks relative to May 1, when the trend was down 39.3% from a year earlier.
The trend in job postings was roughly in line with last year’s trend until the second week of March. Postings were growing 2.9% slower than the trend in 2019 on March 15. The slowdown accelerated in the second half of March and through April to a low point on May 1, when the trend was down 39.3%.
New postings — those on Indeed for a week or less — were down 27.3% for the same time period. That’s a noticeable improvement over May 1 (down 45.3%) and May 8 (down 34.7%). However, the gain since May 15 is due more to a slowing trend in 2019 than a pick up this year. Also keep in mind that the trend in new postings is more volatile than that of all postings.
Hospitality and tourism jobs have seen the biggest decline
Job postings have fallen most in occupations directly affected by the coronavirus such as hospitality & tourism and childcare, where the trend in postings is down by more than half versus last year.
Postings are down across the board, even in sectors not directly impacted by the coronavirus and where many jobs can be done from home. Software development postings are 40.1% below last year’s trend, and management job postings are down 39.3%. Jobs related to logistics and supply chain management are a relatively bright spot in the labor market, with the trend down only 9.9% versus last year.
The trend in postings for the US overall improved in the past three weeks — but not in all sectors. Postings for dental jobs and beauty & wellness jobs have picked up since May 1, though they remain down by 40 – 45% versus a year ago. Food preparation, driving, and logistics job postings have also trended upward since May 1, though of course are still below last year’s levels. Postings continue to trend downward in several higher-paid sectors like software development, banking & finance, and scientific research.
Where job postings have declined most
Within the US, the trend in job postings is down most in metro Honolulu, Miami, Denver, and Orlando. Job postings have fallen more in travel and tourism destinations, large and small. Postings are also down more in the types of places — larger metros with colder weather and older and more diverse populations — at greater risk from the virus. But virus hotspots like New York, Detroit, and New Orleans haven’t seen a much steeper drop in postings than the national average.
The trend in postings has improved since May 1 in many tourism and hospitality destinations like Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando. But job postings have continued to decline in San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Boston, even though more of their workforces are in jobs that can be done from home. In general, over the past three weeks, job postings have trended upward more in smaller metros than in larger metros.
We’ll be regularly updating this data.
To measure the trends in job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of US job postings on Indeed. We index each day’s 7-day moving average to the start of that year (Feb 1, 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on), or another date if specified on the chart.
We report how the trend in job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labor market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings for a country increased 30% from February 1, 2019, to May 22, 2019, but only 20% from February 1, 2020, to May 22, 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 130 in 2019 and 100 to 120 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 7.7% on May 22 (120 is 7.7% below 130) in 2020 relative to 2019.
For new postings, we calculate a similar metric but the underlying measure is the number of postings that have been on Indeed for seven days or less.
In the tables for this post, the caption “change in trend in postings” represents the percent change in job growth rate from February 1 compared to the same date the year prior.
Information based on publicly available information on the Indeed US website (and any other countries named in the post), limited to the United States, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.
Jed Kolko is Chief Economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab. Previously he was Chief Economist and VP of Analytics at Trulia, the online real estate marketplace. He has also led research teams at the Public Policy Institute of California and at Forrester Research. Jed specializes in using large-scale proprietary and publicly available datasets to uncover insights about labor markets, the future of work, demographics, housing markets, and urban trends. He earned his B.A. in social studies and his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University.