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The Impact of Coronavirus on US Job Postings Through June 4: Data from Indeed.com

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US job postings on Indeed.com on June 4 were 28.6% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline. Human resources jobs have increased dramatically.

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 June 4, 2021, they were 28.6% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal variation. Job postings have increased in May and early June by 1.1 percentage points per week, down from 2.0 points per week in April and 2.2 points per week in March. 

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 June 4, 2021. On June 4, 2021, job postings were 28.6% 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. 

Big rebound in jobs that make & move stuff, and HR jobs

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. 

As companies across all sectors are increasingly looking to hire, human resources job postings have leapt in the past four weeks.

Table titled “Some sectors have been hit harder than others.” Indeed compared the percent change in US job postings, between February 1, 2020, and June 4, 2021 across various sectors divided into sections “Better than economy average,” “Similar to economy average,” and “Worse than economy average.” Human resources job postings have jumped. 

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 50%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and June 4, 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 back up above the pre-pandemic baseline in all large metros — including finally in Hawaii. 

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 June 4, 2021. Job postings are back above baseline in all large 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 40%, Indeed tracked the percent change in job postings between February 1, 2020 and June 4, 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 search in states opting out of federal UI benefits early

Search activity is up in some states that are opting out early of federal unemployment insurance benefits and down in others. Four states are ending enhanced federal UI benefits on June 12, nearly three months ahead of the official expiration on September 6. The share of national job search activity in these four states, measured by clicks on job postings, is several points below the late April baseline — even though enhanced unemployment benefits are ending imminently. Search activity is a bit below the national trend in states opting out of enhanced benefits on June 19 as well.

It is unclear why search activity is below the baseline in states where federal UI benefits are ending soon. If overly generous federal UI benefits were holding back job seekers, then we would expect search activity to increase, relative to the national trend, in states where those benefits are ending sooner.

Line graph titled “Job search activity ahead of state UI cutoffs.” With a vertical axis ranging from -5% to 5%, Indeed tracked the percent change in state share of national clicks from May 1, 2020 and June 5, 2021 with lines representing states ending benefits on June 12, on June 19, on June 26-30, and on July 3-10, and among states not opting out early. 

Earlier, job search activity rose, relative to the national trend, in states that announced they’ll prematurely end federal unemployment insurance benefits just after the announcements. This relative increase in job search activity was modest, brief, and across many occupational sectors.

We host the underlying job-postings 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.

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.