Recovery Stalling: Job Openings Drop 5.5 Percent in Last Two Weeks


July 14, 2020

Key Findings

  • U.S. job openings fell to 4.6 million as of July 6, 2020. After rebounding at the beginning of June, job openings faltered, dropping 5.5 percent since June 22. As the recovery loses steam, declining job openings point to a fragile labor market, where economic progress will be overwhelmingly determined by progress against the virus.
  • Job openings fell in almost all industries, but most industries are still above their lowest crisis levels. Consumer services (+10.9 percent month-over-month) and retail (+5.5 percent) are being buoyed by the strength of the initial recovery. However, public services (-4.0 percent) and tech (-4.5 percent) saw job openings fall to new lows.
  • Surprisingly, Arizona (-2.5 percent over the last two weeks), Florida (-3.1 percent) and Texas (-3.2 percent) are among the states with the smallest declines in job openings, despite experiencing growing COVID-19 outbreaks. The escalating crisis raises the question of how sustainable those smaller declines can be.

The economic recovery is losing steam as COVID-19 cases surge around the country and employers pull back on hiring in the face of heightened economic uncertainty. Glassdoor’s latest Job Market Report shows that, as of July 6, job openings have fallen to 4.6 million, a 5.5 percent drop over the last two weeks.

Job openings bottomed out in early June and appeared poised to stage a strong recovery. But since then, the recovery has stumbled, leaving job openings down an anemic 25 percent compared to pre-crisis levels. The drop is likely exacerbated by an annual slowdown around the July 4 holiday, but even so, this seasonal drop appears to be slightly larger than in past years. 

Ultimately, this data points to a fragile recovery. Despite early suggestions of a V-shaped recovery, slumping job openings are a reminder that the virus is firmly in the driver’s seat of the labor market. A worsening public health crisis could easily derail an economic recovery that’s already struggling to find its footing.

Based on an analysis of employer job posting behavior on Glassdoor, 35 percent of employers have reduced job openings since June 22. The percent of employers increasing job openings fell from 31 percent to 22 percent, which may indicate that the decline in hiring over the last two weeks reflects employers’ hesitation to increase hiring in the face of economic uncertainty rather than a surge in hiring freezes or bankruptcies.

Change in Job Openings by Industry

The table below shows the percentage change in job openings over the last two weeks since June 22, when job openings were at their peak, and over the last four weeks since June 8, when job openings were near the trough.

  • The decline in job openings over the last two weeks has affected all major industry groups, but the most affected are a mix of industries, including tech (-15.0 percent over the last two weeks), trade & transportation (-13.1 percent) and consumer services (-11.2 percent). The mix of industries signals that the impact is not just due to new cases of the virus, but also due to broader concerns about the sustainability of the economic recovery.
  • However, most industry groups are still above their crisis lows experienced during early June. For example, consumer services (+10.9 percent month-over-month) and retail (+5.5 percent) are still above crisis lows with the recent slowdown too small to overwhelm the overall rebound in job openings. As states began relaxing restrictions, these businesses were some of the fastest to reopen.
  • Public services (-4.0 percent month over month), including government and education, and tech (-4.5 percent) have seen job openings fall over the last four weeks even as the rest of the economy recovers. State and local governments have been squeezed by increasing spending and declining tax revenues, requiring cuts in new openings. Tech had better weathered the earlier months of the crisis, but is now experiencing a more substantial slowdown.

Change in Job Openings by Industry Group Over the Last Two Weeks and Month-Over-Month

Industry Group % Change –
6/22 to 7/6
(Last Two Weeks)
% Change –
6/8 to 7/6
(Month-over-Month)
U.S. Total -5.5% 3.9%
Business Services -1.9% 5.3%
Construction & Real Estate Services -3.4% 3.0%
Consumer Services -11.2% 10.9%
Finance & Insurance -7.9% 0.0%
Food Services -7.2% 0.4%
Health Care -2.9% 6.4%
Manufacturing & Production -5.5% 2.3%
Public Services -5.8% -4.0%
Retail -3.8% 5.5%
Tech -15.0% -4.5%
Trade & Transportation -13.1% -0.4%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, July 14, 2020

The chart below shows the trend over the course of the crisis for a few select industries. Note that office-based industries like business services, finance & insurance and tech had been trending well through most of the crisis, but are now near their lowest levels. By contrast, consumer services, food services and retail bottomed out in early May as states started lifting restrictions.

For more detailed data on job openings trends by industry and industry group, see our appendix below.

Change in Job Openings by State

  • All 50 states and Washington, D.C. saw a decrease in job openings over the last two weeks, ranging from Wyoming (-0.2 percent over the last two weeks) to Iowa (-16.8 percent), signaling that the economic slowdown is widespread.
  • Surprisingly, Arizona (-2.5 percent), Florida (-3.1 percent) and Texas (-3.2 percent) experienced some of the smallest declines in job openings alongside growing outbreaks of COVID-19. Aggressive reopening in these states may be simultaneously mitigating the economic downturn and contributing to the spread of the virus, but the economic progress may be unsustainable if the crisis escalates and local governments are forced to reimpose restrictions.
  • Remote job openings grew 5.0 percent over the last two weeks. While job openings around the country have stumbled, remote job openings have been remarkably resilient undeterred by both the ongoing public health crisis and the accompanying economic slowdown, growing 28.3 percent year-over-year.

States with Smallest Decline in Job Openings Over the Last Two Weeks

State % Change –
6/22 to 7/6
(Last Two Weeks)
% Change –
6/8 to 7/6
(Month-over-Month)
Wyoming -0.2% 8.2%
Arizona -2.5% 6.9%
Michigan -3.1% 11.9%
Florida -3.1% 6.6%
Texas -3.2% 6.0%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, July 14, 2020

For more detailed data on job openings trends by state and for select metropolitan areas, see our appendix below.

Conclusion

The next several weeks will be a critical time for the economic recovery. The question is whether the worsening public health crisis will completely drown out the fledgling recovery. So far, the data suggests that the labor market is absorbing these headwinds, but the economy remains substantially depressed compared to pre-crisis levels and could slip into a deeper recession if the crisis spirals out of control.

On the other hand, if the public health crisis improves, then the recovery could continue cautiously. However, the recent upswell in COVID-19 cases is a humbling reminder that the recovery remains fragile. The risk of a rollercoaster recovery, where rolling waves buffet the economy up and down, should not be underestimated.

Methodology

The job openings data for the selected dates is generated based on the methodology used in Glassdoor’s monthly Job Market Report, which provides a real-time view of hiring trends and wage growth across the U.S. based on millions of online jobs and salaries on Glassdoor. The data represents a snapshot of the number of job openings available on Glassdoor on the highlighted dates.

Week-over-week, month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons are based on the Mondays from the comparable period. Except where otherwise noted, no additional smoothing, averaging or seasonal adjustment for job openings data is performed. Because no smoothing or averaging takes place, the data may not be directly comparable to Glassdoor’s monthly Job Market Report.

Appendix

Table A: Change in Job Openings by Industry

Job Openings Percent Change
Jul 6, 2020 Jun 29, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 Jul 8, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 4,633,830 4,701,894 4,460,649 6,016,013 -1.4% 3.9% -23.0%
Accounting & Legal 30,596 30,829 30,947 55,100 -0.8% -1.1% -44.5%
Aerospace & Defense 55,862 57,499 59,353 80,011 -2.8% -5.9% -30.2%
Architecture & Civil Engineering 25,636 26,025 26,785 44,998 -1.5% -4.3% -43.0%
Arts & Entertainment 25,515 25,987 23,644 55,912 -1.8% 7.9% -54.4%
Automotive 78,450 78,134 72,282 103,961 0.4% 8.5% -24.5%
Banking & Financial Services 86,529 87,842 87,847 138,076 -1.5% -1.5% -37.3%
Beauty & Fitness 59,748 61,021 51,874 80,081 -2.1% 15.2% -25.4%
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals 61,077 60,858 60,021 71,100 0.4% 1.8% -14.1%
Business Services 7,417 7,502 6,858 12,755 -1.1% 8.2% -41.9%
Computer Software & Hardware 96,769 99,814 108,224 153,317 -3.1% -10.6% -36.9%
Construction 57,017 58,727 56,730 71,420 -2.9% 0.5% -20.2%
Consulting 54,760 56,640 55,971 80,837 -3.3% -2.2% -32.3%
Consumer Electronics 7,789 7,598 6,989 13,521 2.5% 11.4% -42.4%
Consumer Services 14,092 14,206 12,703 13,950 -0.8% 10.9% 1.0%
Education & Schools 160,279 162,532 163,362 249,322 -1.4% -1.9% -35.7%
Energy & Utilities 31,735 32,755 32,417 53,088 -3.1% -2.1% -40.2%
Facilities 40,924 40,336 36,935 49,488 1.5% 10.8% -17.3%
Government 114,806 134,884 125,408 124,902 -14.9% -8.5% -8.1%
Health Care & Hospitals 658,803 667,065 616,786 886,122 -1.2% 6.8% -25.7%
Information Technology 100,698 104,640 105,648 149,084 -3.8% -4.7% -32.5%
Insurance 59,312 60,022 57,965 79,023 -1.2% 2.3% -24.9%
Internet & Tech 90,529 78,888 87,651 56,500 14.8% 3.3% 60.2%
Manufacturing 155,772 158,055 146,060 235,165 -1.4% 6.6% -33.8%
Marketing & Advertising 47,805 48,575 45,903 62,373 -1.6% 4.1% -23.4%
Media & Publishing 11,197 11,210 11,710 29,458 -0.1% -4.4% -62.0%
Nonprofit 57,795 59,459 58,122 73,471 -2.8% -0.6% -21.3%
Private Security 27,669 27,106 20,129 27,197 2.1% 37.5% 1.7%
Real Estate 46,799 46,954 44,998 51,903 -0.3% 4.0% -9.8%
Restaurants & Bars 447,886 466,911 446,114 621,317 -4.1% 0.4% -27.9%
Retail 362,465 361,366 340,882 498,088 0.3% 6.3% -27.2%
Supermarkets 87,791 88,663 86,231 97,224 -1.0% 1.8% -9.7%
Telecommunications 22,720 23,339 23,348 38,977 -2.7% -2.7% -41.7%
Transportation & Logistics 213,394 225,932 216,008 304,142 -5.5% -1.2% -29.8%
Travel & Tourism 31,018 30,814 23,358 96,640 0.7% 32.8% -67.9%
Wholesale 20,407 20,258 18,745 31,442 0.7% 8.9% -35.1%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, July 14, 2020

Table B: Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Job Openings Percent Change
Jul 6, 2020 Jun 29, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 Jul 8, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 4,633,830 4,701,894 4,460,649 6,016,013 -1.4% 3.9% -23.0%
Business Services 168,247 170,652 159,808 238,262 -1.4% 5.3% -29.4%
Construction & Real Estate Services 170,376 172,042 165,448 217,809 -1.0% 3.0% -21.8%
Consumer Services 242,740 244,711 218,919 418,979 -0.8% 10.9% -42.1%
Finance & Insurance 145,841 147,864 145,812 217,099 -1.4% 0.0% -32.8%
Food Services 447,886 466,911 446,114 621,317 -4.1% 0.4% -27.9%
Health Care 719,880 727,923 676,807 957,222 -1.1% 6.4% -24.8%
Production 251,674 256,838 246,468 377,932 -2.0% 2.1% -33.4%
Public Services 332,880 356,875 346,892 447,695 -6.7% -4.0% -25.6%
Retail 458,045 457,627 434,102 608,833 0.1% 5.5% -24.8%
Tech 287,996 283,342 301,523 358,901 1.6% -4.5% -19.8%
Trade & Transportation 233,801 246,190 234,753 335,584 -5.0% -0.4% -30.3%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, July 14, 2020

Table C: Change in Job Openings by State

Job Openings Percent Change
Jul 6, 2020 Jun 29, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 Jul 8, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 4,633,830 4,701,894 4,460,649 6,016,013 -1.4% 3.9% -23.0%
Remote 11,430 11,556 10,366 8,907 -1.1% 10.3% 28.3%
AK 10,207 10,498 9,423 12,482 -2.8% 8.3% -18.2%
AL 63,703 66,129 62,405 77,601 -3.7% 2.1% -17.9%
AR 35,431 36,230 33,097 41,115 -2.2% 7.1% -13.8%
AZ 102,050 102,831 95,491 124,239 -0.8% 6.9% -17.9%
CA 480,854 482,454 478,605 676,456 -0.3% 0.5% -28.9%
CO 93,280 95,359 92,832 131,553 -2.2% 0.5% -29.1%
CT 51,272 52,334 51,829 69,451 -2.0% -1.1% -26.2%
DC 32,542 33,675 34,152 44,943 -3.4% -4.7% -27.6%
DE 16,683 17,380 16,636 19,671 -4.0% 0.3% -15.2%
FL 248,520 247,538 233,162 322,054 0.4% 6.6% -22.8%
GA 148,164 149,781 141,030 199,276 -1.1% 5.1% -25.6%
HI 12,617 13,140 12,101 19,453 -4.0% 4.3% -35.1%
IA 47,256 51,983 49,037 58,130 -9.1% -3.6% -18.7%
ID 19,338 19,870 19,047 22,312 -2.7% 1.5% -13.3%
IL 186,189 188,896 180,781 252,192 -1.4% 3.0% -26.2%
IN 103,279 106,648 98,346 118,895 -3.2% 5.0% -13.1%
KS 43,102 45,120 41,862 53,472 -4.5% 3.0% -19.4%
KY 63,000 66,219 61,428 73,970 -4.9% 2.6% -14.8%
LA 52,896 53,645 50,471 64,013 -1.4% 4.8% -17.4%
MA 139,509 142,714 132,893 190,039 -2.2% 5.0% -26.6%
MD 111,774 113,640 106,996 132,453 -1.6% 4.5% -15.6%
ME 22,696 23,132 21,831 26,872 -1.9% 4.0% -15.5%
MI 131,867 132,802 117,808 154,643 -0.7% 11.9% -14.7%
MN 86,651 90,995 86,903 111,164 -4.8% -0.3% -22.1%
MO 89,165 88,433 82,771 110,897 0.8% 7.7% -19.6%
MS 32,387 34,174 31,080 36,951 -5.2% 4.2% -12.4%
MT 13,823 14,542 13,055 15,601 -4.9% 5.9% -11.4%
NC 153,851 156,522 145,128 212,286 -1.7% 6.0% -27.5%
ND 13,440 14,819 13,031 16,268 -9.3% 3.1% -17.4%
NE 30,034 30,856 27,074 35,087 -2.7% 10.9% -14.4%
NH 26,869 26,799 23,892 32,129 0.3% 12.5% -16.4%
NJ 128,475 131,305 128,933 148,267 -2.2% -0.4% -13.3%
NM 33,302 34,539 32,412 40,662 -3.6% 2.7% -18.1%
NV 36,039 36,405 34,274 50,482 -1.0% 5.1% -28.6%
NY 219,177 224,492 215,593 306,532 -2.4% 1.7% -28.5%
OH 169,985 173,608 160,566 214,436 -2.1% 5.9% -20.7%
OK 45,677 47,959 45,571 57,893 -4.8% 0.2% -21.1%
OR 53,251 54,047 52,097 73,840 -1.5% 2.2% -27.9%
PA 204,547 206,865 196,965 237,546 -1.1% 3.8% -13.9%
RI 15,003 15,504 15,237 19,639 -3.2% -1.5% -23.6%
SC 76,201 76,939 71,575 93,948 -1.0% 6.5% -18.9%
SD 14,743 16,198 15,135 16,647 -9.0% -2.6% -11.4%
TN 97,382 100,008 93,002 129,389 -2.6% 4.7% -24.7%
TX 358,478 360,287 338,054 475,879 -0.5% 6.0% -24.7%
UT 41,121 42,742 40,231 53,280 -3.8% 2.2% -22.8%
VA 157,734 158,643 150,735 200,934 -0.6% 4.6% -21.5%
VT 10,894 10,811 10,319 13,164 0.8% 5.6% -17.2%
WA 118,159 118,575 122,074 156,055 -0.4% -3.2% -24.3%
WI 86,191 87,343 81,098 109,157 -1.3% 6.3% -21.0%
WV 28,192 29,069 28,375 31,170 -3.0% -0.6% -9.6%
WY 10,578 10,693 9,774 12,390 -1.1% 8.2% -14.6%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, July 14, 2020

Table D: Change in Job Openings for Select Metropolitan Areas

Job Openings Percent Change
Jul 6, 2020 Jun 29, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 Jul 8, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 4,633,830 4,701,894 4,460,649 6,016,013 -1.4% 3.9% -23.0%
Atlanta, GA 88,543 89,195 84,346 125,411 -0.7% 5.0% -29.4%
Boston, MA 110,374 112,230 104,415 155,291 -1.7% 5.7% -28.9%
Chicago, IL 145,695 146,853 141,110 199,743 -0.8% 3.2% -27.1%
Houston, TX 71,610 71,800 68,540 100,729 -0.3% 4.5% -28.9%
Los Angeles, CA 153,069 154,887 152,687 219,671 -1.2% 0.3% -30.3%
New York City, NY 229,778 236,007 230,981 308,521 -2.6% -0.5% -25.5%
Philadelphia, PA 93,181 94,756 89,070 114,553 -1.7% 4.6% -18.7%
San Francisco, CA 100,406 97,525 101,704 147,279 3.0% -1.3% -31.8%
Seattle, WA 85,069 84,729 90,445 115,780 0.4% -5.9% -26.5%
Washington, DC 141,380 144,570 141,077 185,860 -2.2% 0.2% -23.9%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, July 14, 2020