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The Impact of Coronavirus on US Job Postings Through May 21: Data from Indeed.com

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US job postings on Indeed.com on May 21 were 25.9% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, unchanged from the previous week.

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 May 21, 2021, they were 25.9% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal variation. That’s unchanged from one week earlier.

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 May 21, 2021. On May 21, 2021, job postings were 25.9% 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 a few lagging sectors and metros, job postings remain 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 manufacturing, loading & stocking, and construction. The big laggards remain hospitality & tourism and sports, which are still below the February 1, 2020, baseline despite recent improvements.

Table titled “Some sectors have been hit harder than others.” Indeed compared the percent change in US job postings, between February 1, 2020, and May 21, 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. 

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 supported the stay-at-home economy, like driving and warehouse jobs, that aren’t themselves work-from-home jobs. But job postings in high-remote sectors have recovered, too.

Line graph titled “Job postings by occupation remote-work share.” With a vertical axis ranging from -50% to 40%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and May 21, 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 still below the pre-pandemic baseline only in metro Honolulu. Postings are up in all regions of the country. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, job postings are now back above 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 May 21, 2021. Job postings are below baseline only in Honolulu. 

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 40%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and May 21, 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. 

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. This week we applied our quarterly revision, which updates seasonal factors and fixes data anomalies. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ from originally reported values.

Indeed no longer allows Colorado jobs that ask the candidate to disclose their previous salaries. This has a meaningful effect on our postings in the state of Colorado and its metros, though not on our national totals.

This blog post 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.