The Impact of Coronavirus on UK Job Postings Through March 26: Data from Indeed
Job postings improvement gathering steam, with biggest one-week gain since the recovery began.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market. Our methodology changed at the start of 2021 — see note at end of post.
Hiring is picking up amid the staged reopening of the economy. Job postings — a real-time measure of labour market activity — were 25.3% below the February 1, 2020, pre-pandemic baseline, seasonally adjusted, as of March 26, 2021. That was a 4.0 percentage point uptick from a week earlier, the biggest one-week gain since the recovery began last summer.
Reopening sectors among the biggest improvers
Since the Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement on 22 February, there have been broad-based gains across sectors. The largest improvement has been for sports (+45.8ppts), a category that includes coaches, fitness instructors and referees. The reopening of outdoor sports was in the first stage of the roadmap, on 29 March.
The second-biggest improvement has been for beauty & wellness (+37.6ppts), a category which includes massage therapists, hair stylists, barbers and beauticians. Personal care businesses can reopen in the second stage of the roadmap on 12 April.
Non-essential retail can also reopen on this date. The retail category has seen an improvement of +20.2ppts since the announcement, while the loading & stocking and driving categories have likely seen some uplift from the sector’s imminent reopening.
Outdoor dining and drinking will also be permitted from 12 April, though indoor service is not set to resume until 17 May. Ahead of these dates, food preparation & service has seen an uplift of +24.6ppts since the roadmap was unveiled. This category includes chefs, restaurant managers, hosts/hostesses, servers, bar staff and sandwich makers.
There are now seven categories where job postings have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. These are construction, medical technician, loading & stocking, production & manufacturing, community & social service, logistic support and social science.
The North East and Wales are closest to pre-crisis levels. Northern Ireland, the South East and London are furthest below the pre-pandemic baseline.
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.
All figures in this blogpost are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since February 1, 2020, using a 7-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 switched to this new methodology in January 2021 and now report all historical data using this new methodology. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ significantly from originally reported values. The new methodology applies a detrended seasonal adjustment factor to the percentage change in job postings. In contrast, our previous methodology used the 2019 change between February 1 and the reported date as the adjustment factor, which implicitly included both a seasonality component and the underlying trend.
For nearly all series, job postings trended upward in 2019. The new methodology no longer subtracts out the underlying 2019 trend, so most historical figures are higher (i.e. less negative relative to the February 1, 2020 baseline) with the new methodology than originally reported.
Information is based on publicly available information on the Indeed UK website (and any other countries named in the post), is 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.