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July’s New Job Postings Climbed 3% Above Pre-COVID Levels

August 10, 2020 by Gwen Burrow

Finally, July’s new job postings climbed 3% above pre-COVID levels. After a desperate plummet in March and April followed by weeks of halting ascent, job postings officially rose above the last normal numbers set at the beginning of 2020.

But that might be the only good news at the moment. The US economy saw what is hailed as the fastest recession in US recorded history, where it shrank at a 33% annual rate between April and June. This does not bode well for hiring. So new job postings are inching back to normalcy in a highly abnormal time, to say the least.

Couriers & Messengers posted 411% more new job postings in July than pre COVID

Here are the five industries with the greatest increase in new job postings, comparing July to the January/February average:

  1. Couriers & messengers (+411% over pre-COVID average) – Where would we be without trucking? It’s not surprising that the industry with the greatest increase in new job postings is one of the main industries keeping the veins and arteries of America’s delivery system running smoothly. And it’s no surprise the industry has been publishing mountains of new job postings. Shipt and FedEx are the main companies posting here.
  2. Online shopping (+82%) – Even as some states cautiously reopen and life returns to some semblance of quasi-normal, online shopping isn’t going anywhere. Online shopping simply galloped in March, April, May, and June as well.
  3. Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores (+67%) – This boom in new job postings for sporting goods stores is probably linked to the fact that cooped-up Americans are seeking outdoor entertainment and constructing their own home gyms. Bikes and gym equipment are now outrageously hard to find, and companies are scrambling to restock.
  4. Food & beverage stores (+41%) – Many industries (like restaurants) got clobbered by the COVID shutdown, but grocery stores have benefited from the great revival in home cooking since the beginning of the crisis.
  5. General merchandise stores (+39%) – In general, retail doesn’t seem likely to rebound all that soon (or fast), but a number of stores—Dollar General, Walmart, TJX companies, Target, Dollar Tree—are still posting heavily.

 

US military is posting 182% more than pre COVID

These five occupations have had the heartiest uptick in new job postings (July vs. January/February average):

  1. Military occupations (+182%) – This explosion of new job postings is mostly likely because the COVID era has forced the US military to become highly visible online, rather than in strip malls and high schools. When quarantine shut down many recruiting stations, the US military pivoted and went digital. Recruiters turned from traditional face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings, hitting up social media to reach candidates.
  2. Extraction workers (145%) – This includes workers in mining and oil, both of which were severely impacted by the COVID crisis. With this dramatic increase in new job postings, perhaps hope is on the horizon again for extraction workers.
  3. Supervisors of Personal Care & Service Workers (+93%) – Let’s just say more than a few shaggy Americans needed a haircut after the various lockdown orders lifted across the states. This spike in new job postings could reflect everyone’s (mutually) grateful return to the barber.
  4. Material Moving Workers (+88%) – This would include vital (and exploding) jobs like Amazon and FedEx warehouse workers.
  5. Motor Vehicle Operators (+59%) – As we saw in our industry section above, trucking is having a heyday across America. UPS, CRST, Pegasus Transportation, CR England, US Xpress, and DoorDash are all posting.

 

Vermont has the biggest jump in new job postings

Thirty-three states have recovered (or blown well past) their pre-COVID numbers for new job postings. A slew of northeastern states lead the way with Vermont at the tip of the spear:

The slowest state is Hawaii, still 33% below its pre-COVID numbers. The Aloha State may have avoided a deadly COVID spike, but its tourist economy is completely gutted. Other slow states include a swath of the western and southern US:

 

Wondering how you and your organization can help the economy get back on its feet? Sign up for the online Emsi conference October 12-13. It’s free!

Gwen Burrow

Reach out at gburrow@economicmodeling.com

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