Indeed Job Search Survey September 2021: Job Search Stays Stagnant
Job search was essentially unchanged in September with no progress for the jobless since late May.
- Active job search didn’t change much from the previous month according to the September 2021 edition of the Indeed Job Search Survey.
- Notably, the share of jobless respondents who are actively searching for paid work has remained stagnant at 32% since our first survey in June.
- The reasons for a lack of urgency among the unemployed have shifted, with more respondents citing an employed spouse or partner and fewer citing COVID-19 fears and UI payments.
Job search didn’t change much from a month earlier, according to the September edition of the Indeed Hiring Lab Job Search Survey.
The September survey found 28.7% of respondents actively looking for paid employment, up slightly but statistically indistinguishable from 27.9% in August. This share is up from its June level of 24.4%.
Active job search among the jobless is stagnant
The lack of pickup is more pronounced among jobless respondents. The share of out-of-work respondents who said they are actively looking for work is essentially unchanged since our first survey in late May and early June.
Timing preferences for starting a new job
The vast majority of active job seekers do want to start a job right away, but there hasn’t been a statistically significant increase in this group since the July edition of our survey.
Reasons for lack of urgent job search
While there hasn’t been a change in the level of job search, the reasons for a lack of urgent job search among the unemployed have shifted. The most commonly cited reason in September was that the unemployed respondent had an employed spouse. Fears of contracting COVID-19 have receded, with the share of the unemployed citing this reason for a lack of urgency dropping almost 11 percentage points since the June survey. Increased vaccinations since late spring is likely behind this trend.
The Indeed Hiring Lab polled 5,000 people in the US in mid-September, ages 18-64. The surveys have been conducted monthly since late May. The samples include individuals in and out of the labor force, and employed and jobless people.
The Hiring Lab will monitor this trend and others in future installments of the Job Search Survey.
This blog post is based on four online surveys of 5,000 US adults ages 18-64. The first survey was conducted May 26-June 3, the second July 12-20, and the third recent August 10-18 and the most recent from September 13 – 29 . Weights were applied to each survey to match respondent distributions across age, educational attainment, race/ethnicity, and sex with the 2020 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
Statistically significant differences between the surveys depend upon the exact question and the specific survey wave. For example, between the August and September surveys, a difference of at least 1.3 percentage points is required for a change in the share of the population that is actively and urgently searching to be statistically significant at the 5% level. A change in the share of active job seekers who want to start a job immediately between the July and September surveys would have to be at least 3.4 percentage points to be statistically significant at that same level.
Nick Bunker is the Economic Research Director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the U.S. labor market. He was previously a Senior Policy Analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, an economics think tank. Prior to that, Nick was a Research Assistant at the Center for American Progress. He holds a B.S.F.S. in international economics from Georgetown University.