Over the past several months, we’ve weighed in on the best ways to use job postings to shed light on the labor market and compared postings, month to month, with the more standardized employment data that the government produces and EMSI compiles, cleans, and presents to our clients. As with any data, there are strengths and weaknesses to job postings, and we highlighted both in our previous articles.
Here’s what we’ve learned from our research:
1. Job postings need to be approached with caution. They only capture a small part of the total economy and tend to be heavily weighted toward certain fields — for instance, tech and business/professional occupations (e.g., software engineers, business and management occupations, etc.). They are also subject to seasonal shifts and can show drastically different trends from month to month.
2. On the other hand, job postings can be a good leading indicator for future job growth and provide detailed information on the types of skills that employers want — and who those actual employers are.
Indeed, much can be culled from job postings, which is why we’re excited to announce that later this summer we’ll begin to incorporate real-time job posting activity in Analyst, our web-based labor market research tool. We’ve carefully reviewed how best to include job posting analytics in our tools. Our goal is to provide the best and most current data for decision-making and analysis, and we’re eager to hear your feedback as we roll out this new data.
Phase 1: Economy Overview and Occupations Reports
In Phase 1 of the rollout, Analyst users will be able to see the companies hiring across their entire regional economy or for just one occupation (or a group of occupations). This data will help you better understand two important metrics:
- The employers that are actively posting positions in your economy.
- The positions they are seeking.
Job postings will initially appear in two spots in Analyst — the Economy Overview section and individual occupation reports. For each, posting activity will be for the most recent month of full, finalized data that we have as well as the previous six months before that. Users will be able to hover over the number of postings in the tool to see further detail.
In the Economy Overview, Analyst will show the top postings for the selected region (county, metro, ZIP code) by company. This will give users important data on the employers in their area with the most posting activity, both in the most recent month of available data and the most recent six-month period.
In occupation reports, Analyst will show the top postings for the selected field by company. After seeing the top five employers, users will be able to click on the blue slider icon (see screenshot below) to open up a full table of posting activity.
More to Come
For Phase 2, EMSI plans to unveil skills analysis of job postings in Analyst and provide further context for our clients. More details will be forthcoming.
If you have questions or comments, please let us know. Also, if you are currently using job postings and would like to share thoughts on the sorts of things you need to use them for, please contact us so we can gather that feedback as we develop.