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The Impact of Coronavirus on US Job Postings Through April 9: Data from Indeed.com

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US job postings on Indeed.com on April 9 were 17.9% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline. Job postings in most vacation areas have recovered.

We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labor market. Our methodology changed at the start of 2021, as explained in the methodology note at the end of the post.

Job postings on Indeed are a real-time measure of labor market activity. On April 9, 2021, they were 17.9% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal variation. That’s a modest 1.5 percentage point gain over last week, the smallest increase in several weeks. 

Line graph titled “Job postings on Indeed, United States.” With a vertical axis ranging from -40% to 20%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and April 9, 2021. On April 9, 2021, job postings were 17.9% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline. 

Job postings plunged in March and April 2020 to a low of 39% below the February 1, 2020, baseline. Job postings returned to the baseline on January 20, 2021, but that does not mean the labor market has fully recovered. Other measures of labor market health, like payroll employment and the headline unemployment rate, remain substantially worse than pre-pandemic. For employment to recover completely, job postings will have to remain above the pre-pandemic baseline for an extended time. Finally, in some sectors and metros, job postings are far below the pre-pandemic baseline.

Big rebound in jobs that make & move stuff, but hospitality lags

Job postings in nearly all sectors are above the pre-pandemic baseline. Pharmacy postings have increased considerably as vaccines roll out. Nursing and medical-technician jobs are also well above the pre-pandemic baseline. So are jobs in goods-related sectors like loading & stocking, construction, and manufacturing.

The big laggard remains hospitality & tourism postings, which are 17% below the February 1, 2020, baseline but have improved recently.

Table titled “Some sectors have been hit harder than others.” Indeed compared the percent change in US job postings, between February 1, 2020, and April 9, 2021 across various sectors divided into sections “Better than economy average,” “Similar to economy average,” and “Worse than economy average.” Hospitality & tourism job postings lag. 

Jobs in work-from-home sectors catching up

Postings for work that can’t be done from home recovered first and strongest. The shift to remote work in the pandemic created jobs in sectors that support the stay-at-home economy, like driving and warehouse jobs, that aren’t themselves work-from-home jobs. However, in recent months job postings in high remote-work sectors, like finance and tech, have picked up — a sign of longer-term economic confidence. 

In the past few weeks, postings in low work-from-home sectors like food prep and beauty & wellness accelerated as more people get vaccinated and visit in-person businesses.

Line graph titled “Job postings by occupation remote-work share.” With a vertical axis ranging from -50% to 30%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and April 9, 2021 with lines representing “low remote”, “medium remote”, and “high remote.” Low-remote jobs recovered first. 

Metros where job postings have recovered more slowly

Within the US, job postings are down most in metro Honolulu, San Jose, and San Francisco. But job postings have improved in nearly all regions of the country. Only five of the 110 metros with at least half a million people remain below the pre-pandemic baseline. 

Table titled “Metros with declines or slowest growth in job postings.” Indeed listed the US metros with the largest declines in job postings between February 1, 2020 and April 9, 2021. Job postings are down most in Honolulu, San Jose, and San Francisco metros. 

Job postings fell more initially in travel and tourism destinations. But job postings have rebounded more slowly in metros where a higher share of jobs can be done from home. In high work-from-home metros, postings in retail, restaurant, and personal-services jobs suffered. Postings in these metros finally rose above the pre-pandemic baseline at the end of March.

Line graph titled “Job postings in hospitality vs work-from-home metros.” With a vertical axis ranging from -50% to 30%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and April 9, 2021 with lines representing “all metros,” “high WFH metros,” and “high hospitality metros.” In high work-from-home metros, postings in retail, restaurant, and personal-services jobs have suffered. 

Job postings rising in vacation areas

Job postings are above the pre-pandemic baseline and rising in nearly all vacation and resort areas. As summer approaches and vaccinations continue, people are eager to travel. Vacation areas that are driving distance for regional visitors have recovered faster than places people fly to. Job postings are far above the pre-pandemic baseline in parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and other vacation areas in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Same with several coastal towns near the Oregon-California border. Hawaii job postings, however, remain below the baseline. 

Table titled “Job postings in vacation and resort areas.” Indeed listed the US vacation and resort areas with the largest increases in job postings between February 1, 2020 and April 9, 2021. Job postings have the highest percent change in the Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and Southwest FloridaHawaii job postings remain below the baseline. 

We host the underlying chart data on Github as downloadable CSV files. Typically, it will be updated with the latest data one day after this blog post was published.

Methodology

All figures in this blogpost are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since February 1, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average. February 1, 2020, is our pre-pandemic baseline. We seasonally adjust each series based on historical patterns in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Each series, including the national trend, occupational sectors, and sub-national geographies, is seasonally adjusted separately. We adopted this new methodology in January 2021 and now use it to report all historical data. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ significantly from originally reported values. 

This blogpost is based on publicly available information on the Indeed US website and any other countries if named in the post. Unless specified otherwise, it is limited to the United States, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations. US Armed Forces job postings are excluded.