December 4, 2020 by Gwen Burrow
It’s looking like a holiday bonanza for big businesses: Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Spectrum, FedEx, USPS…. But for small businesses, 2020 is putting the final lump of coal in their stocking.
While job postings last month were the highest they’ve been all year, the major drivers of these job postings are the mega players that have consistently thrived despite (or even because of) the economic shutdowns. Small businesses, meanwhile, are dying by the thousands.
So this Christmas, shop at the store down the street! Support your local economy! And now read on to find out what else went down in November. Five fairly new industries are causing some action in job postings: real estate, insurance, telecommunication, professional/scientific service companies, and computer companies.
The weekly average of new job postings in November was 28% above pre-COVID averages. With 1.1 million new job postings each week, November was just a tad (3%) higher than October, and 15% higher than last November. This is probably due to the fact that in November of 2019, US job openings fell to the lowest level in nearly two years.
Also, we talked about this back in August, but it’s still true, so I’m going to talk about it again: remote work has taken off like a rocket that might not come back down. At least for a while.
Even before COVID, remote work was becoming increasingly popular, especially for more technical jobs like finance or software engineering. From 2005 to 2017, remote jobs in the US grew 159%. And just in the past five years, the number of remote workers exploded by nearly a million: from 3.9 million in 2015 to 4.7 million by the beginning of 2020.
But then COVID hit. While just 3.4% of the US workforce was working remotely last February, 58% of the workforce is working remotely today. Remote job postings are now 140% higher than they were before COVID. In fact, during each week in November, 72,000 job postings were for remote positions.
Throughout the pandemic and shutdown bedlam of 2020, giant tech firms and logistics companies have consistently been the major drivers of new job postings. They’re posting up to 431% more than they were before COVID. There’s just no stopping them.
Such tremendous growth is fantastic for these companies. And for house-bound Americans, the ability to shop online and pick up packaged goods off their doorstep has been a phenomenal blessing—without which 2020 could have looked much bleaker.
But the national trend is still disturbing. The same tribulation (widespread orders and instincts to minimize public interaction) that has boosted mega companies is choking out the smaller employers that are no less vital to local economies—not to mention the families they employ.
The US currently has 30.2 million small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy. These businesses employ nearly half (47.5%) of the American workforce. So if 42% of small businesses are forced to close this quarter—as looks likely if the economy continues on its current course—nearly 13 million small businesses (and countless citizens) will be out of work by New Year’s. Already, nearly 100,000 businesses that had once shut down temporarily are now permanently closed.
Where are they shutting down? The hardest-hit cities are San Francisco, New Orleans, and Honolulu, where up to 49% of small businesses—especially in the hospitality sector—have closed.
We already know online shopping and shipping & delivery are full of new jobs, but what other industries are trying to hire? Here are five fairly new ones.
Companies like Deloitte, IBM, and Allied Universal published an average of 100,000 new postings every week last month.
Companies like Anthem and UnitedHealth Group added 22,000 new job postings each week. Think about it. Life gets uncertain: we want insurance! Makes sense. In fact, some insurance firms have sold 15-30% more life insurance policies.
Companies like Apple, Cisco Systems, and Dell combined added 15,000 new job postings each week in November. Tech companies generally have a leg up these days because they’re more pandemic-proof than brick-and-mortar stores, since a lot of tech jobs can be done remotely.
For example, look at Apple, which continued to create jobs straight through the pandemic. The iOS app store alone created 300,000 new jobs from April 2019 to September 2020!
Each week in November, there were 10,000 new job postings for real estate jobs. Realtors are scrambling to keep up with demand!
After a massive slow down last spring, when nationwide home sales dropped to their lowest levels since 2007, real estate picked up again during the summer as 23,000 new real estate jobs were added to the economy. New home sales spiked 43% in August.
Why are so many people buying houses? We see at least three reasons:
Spectrum is the main company posting here. Some telecommunication companies are suffering as Americans cancel cable TV, but Spectrum is actually thriving—due to their internet packages. Quarantined Americans aren’t just binging on Netflix, they’re relying on great Wi-Fi for all those Zoom meetings for work and school, too.