Coronavirus

Coronavirus and US Job Postings Through July 3: Data from Indeed.com

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The trend in job postings was 24.7% lower than in 2019 as of July 3 — the ninth straight week of gradual 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 24.7% lower than in 2019, as of July 3. The trend has improved over the past nine weeks relative to May 1, when the trend was down 39.3% from a year earlier. However, most of the decline in the gap in the past week from 2019’s trend comes from slower growth in last year’s baseline. 

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%.

Job postings for higher-wage occupations have fallen the most. Initially, postings in higher-wage occupations fell less than those in middle- and lower-wage occupations, but have subsequently lagged. Postings in higher-wage occupations are now 34% below trend, versus the 15% below trend for lower-wage occupations.

This pattern is different from the trend in employment. Bureau of Labor Statistics data through mid-June show that lower-wage industries have lost the most jobs in the pandemic, by a wide margin. This might be because it is more expensive and often takes longer to fire and hire higher wage workers. Lower-wage industries like retail and food service might adjust their workforces in response to month-to-month or even week-to-week changes in demand. But higher-wage industries like tech and finance might plan their headcounts based on what they expect demand to look like longer-term, in future quarters or years. 

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, arts & entertainment, and childcare, where the trend in postings is down by roughly 40% or more versus last year. 

Postings are down in nearly all sectors, even in those not directly impacted by the coronavirus and where many jobs can be done from home. Software development postings are 36.6% below last year’s trend, and banking & finance job postings are down 46.3%. 

Jobs related to driving and retail are now relatively bright spots in the labor market, with job postings almost back to 2019’s trend.

The trend in postings for the US overall improved in the past nine weeks  — but more in some sectors than others. Postings for retail, driving, and loading & stocking jobs have rebounded since May 1. Food preparation and childcare job postings have also trended upward since May 1, though still remain far below last year’s levels. Postings haven’t bounced back nearly as much in higher-paid sectors like software development and banking & finance, or in arts & entertainment.

Where job postings have declined most

Within the US, the trend in job postings is down most in metro Honolulu, San Francisco, and New York. Job postings fell more initially in travel and tourism destinations, large and small, but postings have picked up since May 1 in destination metros like Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando. Job postings haven’t picked up much in San Francisco, New York, and Seattle, even though more of their workforces are in jobs that can be done from home. 

Job postings have rebounded more — after falling less to begin with — in smaller metropolitan areas and more rural communities. But job postings remain farther below last year’s trend in the largest metros and in places that are social distancing more. In metros where more of the workforce is in hospitality and tourism, job postings have rebounded. In contrast, in metros where more jobs can be done from home, job postings are still 34% below last year’s trend and only minimally picking up. In work-from-home metros, retail, restaurants, and other sectors that serve local customers have picked up much less than those sectors have in metros where fewer people can work from home.

Finally, there don’t appear to be different trends — at least not yet — in the metros experiencing a surge in COVID19 cases in June. The trend in job postings to July 3 in surge metros like Phoenix, Miami, and Memphis has stayed on course. 

Why haven’t job postings slowed in metros where cases surged? Mobility has slowed in surge metros in the past couple of weeks but only modestly, according to anonymized mobile-device data from Descartes Labs. And physical distancing, as measured by mobility, has had only a small effect on local differences in job postings, relative to differences in the local job mix.

We’ll be regularly updating this data. We also host the data behind the postings trends plots on Github as downloadable CSV files. Typically, it will be updated with the latest data one day after the respective Hiring Lab tracker is published.

Methodology

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.

For the salary tiers chart, we divided occupations into thirds based on average wages/salaries in job postings in 2019. Examples of occupations in each tier:

  • lower: retail sales associate, sales associate, nursing assistant
  • middle: store manager, driver, warehouse worker
  • higher: registered nurse, software engineer, project manager
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