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Coronavirus and US Job Postings Through August 14: Data from Indeed.com

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The trend in job postings was 20.3% lower than in 2019 as of August 14 — the first decline in this metric since late April.

We will be regularly updating this data as we track how coronavirus impacts the global labor market. 

The trend in job postings — a real-time measure of labor market activity — is 20.3% lower than in 2019, as of August 14. This is the first drop in the postings index since late April. In part, the drop reflects a rise in postings in the comparison period a year ago, but also reflects a flattening in the posting count this month.

The global economy has slowed dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. 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 2019 trend on March 15. The slowdown accelerated in the second half of March and through April to a low point of 39.3% on May 1, with gradual improvement in May, June, and July before a flattening in August.

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, as well as jobs not touched directly by the virus and that can be done from home, such as software development and banking & finance. 

Jobs related to driving and retail have fallen back down to last year’s levels after rising above those levels in July and early August. Beauty & wellness job postings fell in the past two weeks — these tend to be in-person jobs like hairdressers that are sensitive to local virus outbreaks and social-distancing guidelines. But — some good news — the sectors with the biggest declines in the pandemic (hospitality & tourism and arts & entertainment) gained a bit of ground in the past week.

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 28% below trend, versus 12% below trend for lower-wage occupations.

This pattern is different from the trend in employment. Bureau of Labor Statistics data through mid-July 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. 

Where job postings have declined most

Within the US, the trend in job postings is down most in metro Honolulu, San Francisco, and San Jose. In these metros, job postings are still down about as much today as national postings were at the low point in early May. In the past two weeks, the trend in job postings has been negative in three-quarters of large metros.

Job postings fell more initially in travel and tourism destinations, large and small, but postings have picked up since May in hospitality metros like Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando. Job postings have rebounded much more slowly in metros where more of the jobs can be done from home. In work-from-home metros, postings in retail, restaurant, and personal-services jobs have suffered

The dip in job postings is similar in metros where cases have surged this summer and in other metros.

But one difference across places is that job postings slid more last week in smaller metros. Larger metros depend more on tech, finance, and other sectors that haven’t seen a recent drop in job postings. 

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. 

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.