The Impact of Coronavirus on US Job Postings Through July 30: Data from Indeed.com
US job postings on Indeed.com on July 30 were 35.2% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline. Job postings fell in sectors that make and move things, and employer urgency has slipped a bit.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labor market.
Job postings on Indeed are a real-time measure of labor market activity. On July 30, 2021, they were 35.2% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal variation. That’s a dip of two points from last week. Job postings increased in May, June, and July at a slower pace than in March and April.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 9.2 million job openings at the end of May in its latest JOLTS report. Job postings on Indeed increased 5.5% between May 31 and July 30. If JOLTS openings have grown since April 30 at the same rate as Indeed job postings, that implies 9.7 million job openings as of July 30.
Job postings declining from high levels in goods sectors
Job postings in all sectors are above the pre-pandemic baseline, led by manufacturing and loading & stocking. However, in the past four weeks job postings fell in those two sectors as well as in other goods-related sectors like construction and driving. These sectors have faced supply constraints in inputs like lumber and semiconductors, which might be holding back hiring.
Human resources jobs are also far above baseline, as employers are eager to hire the people who will help them hire others. HR job postings are 67% above baseline and — unlike the goods-related sectors — several points higher than four weeks ago.
Job postings show employers are eager to hire
Employers are eager to hire — and that shows up not just in the number of job postings, but also in what those job postings say. However, mentions of both urgent hiring and hiring incentives, such as signing bonuses, eased down a bit at the end of July after peaking on July 20.
The share of job postings that use words like “hiring urgently” has jumped more than 50% since the start of the year. While job postings have been rebounding steadily since last summer, in recent months job postings have increasingly mentioned urgent hiring.
Furthermore, employers are offering bonuses and other hiring incentives. The share of job postings that mention hiring incentives doubled to 4.2% on July 30 from 2.0% one year earlier. Much of the increase in incentives has come just in the last several months.
Metros where job postings have recovered more slowly
Within the US, job postings are solidly back up above the pre-pandemic baseline in all large metros. Job postings have recovered least in San Jose and metro Washington DC.
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.
Local vaccination rates and job postings
Job postings have increased less in metros with higher vaccination rates. In metros where fewer than 50% of adults were fully vaccinated as of late June, job postings were 41% above the pre-pandemic baseline, versus 27% in metros where more than 60% of adults were fully vaccinated. High vaccination metros tend to be larger and have more jobs in sectors where people can work from home — both of which have been associated with slower growth in job postings throughout the recovery.
In the past four weeks, job postings increased slightly more in high vaccination metros than in medium and low vaccination metros.
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 is published.
All figures in this blog post 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. Data for June 24-30, 2021, are missing and were interpolated.
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.
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.