The Impact of Coronavirus on US Job Postings Through June 4: Data from Indeed.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The number of job postings on Indeed.com, whether related to paid or unpaid job solicitations, is not indicative of potential revenue or earnings of Indeed, which comprises a significant percentage of the HR Technology segment of its parent company, Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. Job posting numbers are provided for information purposes only and should not be viewed as an indicator of performance of Indeed or Recruit. Please refer to the Recruit Holdings investor relations website and regulatory filings in Japan for more detailed information on revenue generation by Recruit’s HR Technology segment.
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.