The overall hiring market, typified by new job ad volume, is still not where it was pre-COVID. New job ads increased in June, but trailed its pre-COVID peak, especially for white collar jobs.
New online job ads hit a trough in April and have yet to fully rebound. New ads in June reached 2.31 million, up from 2.01 million in May. Volume was approximately 2.60 million in February, however, before the economic shutdowns due to the coronavirus became widespread in the United States.
Variation in Demand by Occupation
Some occupations have fared better than others in recovering job hiring activity. New online job ads for several groups were stronger in June than in February, particularly the major occupations groups of transportation and material moving, healthcare support, and production. Other groups, however, saw over 30% fewer jobs in June than in February: legal; business and financial operations; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.
Throughout the coronavirus downturn, blue-collar jobs fared better than average. Service jobs, on the other hand, were hit harder than average the first months of March and April but rebounded quicker than average in May and June. White collar jobs had nearly the opposite trend: faring slightly better than average in March and April, but then having a slow rebound in May and June.
State mandates to close nonessential businesses influenced the March and April trends in service and white-collar jobs. Services such as barber shops and salons were largely deemed nonessential while many white-collar jobs were able to be performed remotely. When states allowed more businesses to open, it’s not surprising that job ads increased for service and retail occupations. The slower rebound in white-collar jobs may be due to businesses waiting to hire until economic activity continues to expand. In addition, some of the firms that hire white-collar workers may find it difficult to on-board new employees in an environment of social distancing when many offices remain closed.
Some specific occupations with higher job demand in June compared to February are shown above. Demand for retail salespersons roller-coastered this spring, eclipsing 127,000 in June, more than double the approximately 62,000 new ads for this occupation in April. In contrast, demand for stockers and order fillers as well as drivers/sales workers stayed relatively strong during the spring as retailers focused resources to fulfil demand under social distancing requirements. Stockers and order fillers, for example, saw strong demand in June from companies such as Lowes, Walmart, and Amazon.
About the Data
All data above are derived from JobsEQ, the Real-Time Intelligence online job ad data set, pulled from over 30,000 websites and updated daily. Historical volume is revised as additional data are made available and processed. Each month of ads is defined as new online ads that first appeared in that month. All ad counts represent deduplicated figures. The relationship between ad counts and actual hires is described here.
Many extraneous factors can affect short-term volume of online job postings. Thus, while the changes noted above should be watched over time to confirm the impacts, such a short-term snapshot can offer an early indication of labor market shifts, especially valuable in this time of unprecedented economic disruption.