Coronavirus and UK Job Postings Through 18th September: Data from Indeed
Gradual recovery in job postings continues.
This post is updated as of 18th September 2020. We will continue to update these trends regularly as we track how coronavirus impacts the global labour market.
The job postings on Indeed UK showed a further modest improvement last week. The gap in trend versus last year was -48% as of 18th September, narrowing from -50% the previous week. That was the sixth week running of improvements.
Chemical engineering, construction and cleaning see improvements
The strongest improvement in trend over the past month was seen for chemical engineering, mainly driven by gas engineers and water treatment specialists. Construction workers and cleaners also saw rising demand, followed by medical information (which includes registrars, healthcare advisors and clinic managers) and childcare.
London remained the weakest performer at the regional level. In contrast to improvements seen in all other regions of the UK over recent weeks, the trend in the capital has been flatlining. Job postings in London were down -54.6% on last year as of 18th September, barely above their low point of -56.9% in early June. With the government reversing its push to get more people back into offices, city centre economies are set to face further headwinds, with London in particular likely to suffer.
The Centre for Cities’ high streets recovery tracker shows London sitting bottom of all the UK’s cities and large towns in terms of footfall versus pre-lockdown levels, and third-bottom for spending. It’s therefore unsurprising to see the capital underperforming the rest of the UK in key consumer-facing sectors like retail, hospitality and food preparation & service.
With large numbers of white collar workers working from home, some of their spending has been displaced to local economies. Commuter belt towns in the South East and East of England have been among the beneficiaries, which may be one factor helping sustain job postings recoveries in those regions. The South West has also been gaining momentum in recent weeks, having been one of the hardest hit regions at the nadir.
All regions in the Midlands and the North of England have been closing the gap to last year since around early June. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also seen improvements, albeit Scotland remains a laggard with the second-largest gap to last year’s trend (-51.3%), behind only London. In contrast, Wales has the smallest gap to last year (-36.0%).
We will continue to provide regular updates on these trends as the situation evolves. We also host the data behind the postings trends plots on Github as downloadable CSV files. Typically, the site will be updated with the latest data one day after the respective Hiring Lab tracker is published.
To measure the trends in total job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of UK job postings on Indeed. We indexed each day’s 7-day moving average to the start of that year (1 February 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on), or another date if specified on the chart.
For each country we report how the trend in total job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labour market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings for a country increased 30% from 1 February 2019 to 18 September 2019, but only 20% from 1 February 2020 to 18 September 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 130 in 2019 and 100 to 120 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 7.7% on 18 September (120 is 7.7% below 130) in 2020 relative to 2019.
Information is based on publicly available information on the Indeed UK website (and other countries named in this post), limited to the UK (and those countries), is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.
Jack is an Economist on the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the UK/Ireland labour market. Before joining Indeed, Jack was a senior economist at Nationwide Building Society and prior to that at global information provider IHS Markit. He holds an MSc in finance and economic policy from SOAS, University of London and a BSc in economics and finance from the University of York.