The Impact of Coronavirus on US Job Postings Through April 23: Data from Indeed.com
US job postings on Indeed.com on April 23 were 22.4% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline. Job postings in in-person sectors, such as cleaning & sanitation, have accelerated recently.
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 23, 2021, they were 22.4% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal variation. That’s more than three percentage points ahead of last week — a big jump.
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, led by goods-related sectors like loading & stocking, construction, and manufacturing. In the past four weeks job postings have jumped in cleaning & sanitation and in security & public safety jobs, as businesses reopen and activities restart.
The big laggards remain hospitality & tourism and sports, which are still below the February 1, 2020, baseline despite recent improvements.
Postings up most in in-person sectors
In the past few weeks, as the economy recovers, postings have increased rapidly in low work-from-home sectors like cleaning & sanitation, retail, hospitality & tourism, and food preparation.
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.
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 four of the 110 metros with at least half a million people remain below the pre-pandemic baseline.
Job postings are highest above the pre-pandemic baseline in Boise ID, Riverside CA, and Stockton CA. The metros where job postings have rebounded most tend to be more affordable metros that people have moved to during the pandemic, as well as metros with lots of employment in warehouse, manufacturing, delivery, and other sectors where postings have recovered strongly.
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.
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.
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.
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.