COVID-19 Rebound Takes Toll on Job Postings

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and the sudden slowdown in plans to reopen state economies, are also taking a toll on job postings.

Job postings nationwide dipped 3% during the week of June 22-29. That breaks an eight-week trend of increased postings. Even with those gains, posting levels are down 18% since March 2 and ever further below what we would expect during peak summer hiring season.

Covid job postings graph

The Accommodations and Food Service industry is leading the decline, with postings down 33% over the past two weeks. That makes sense because reopening restaurants and other public accommodations was the step widely delayed when states paused reopening. This industry saw the biggest initial impact from the coronavirus as lockdowns closed restaurants, hotels, and cut back on travel generally. In fact, states that depend on tourism saw greater initial declines in job postings than those with more COVID cases or earlier lockdowns.

Over the entire course of the pandemic, however, industries like Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation and Wholesale Trade fell even more. The only industry to gain since March has been Transportation and Warehousing—perhaps not surprising when you consider how dependent people have become on home delivery during the lockdowns. Even Retail Trade was gaining ground as states reopened, up 11% in the last two weeks.

Covid job postings by industry

Job postings offer a critical view into the economy because it shows how employers view the future. Are things getting better? Will there be enough demand to justify putting workers on the payroll?

Postings also offer a sense of what options displaced workers actually have in this economy. For more on the chances of getting a “lifeboat job” that can both keep displaced workers in the short-term while still providing long-term prospects, see our research report.