Job Openings Down 1.5% Week-over-Week, Slowing Amid Coronavirus Outbreak


March 17, 2020

The current economic situation is rapidly evolving as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. In a time of uncertainty and fast-changing events, economic data can quickly become obsolete. It’s more critical  than ever to have the latest insights on how current events are shaping the economy today.

In this special edition of Glassdoor’s typically monthly Job Market Report, we analyze early evidence of how the labor market is responding to the coronavirus outbreak, based on job openings on Glassdoor. Already in the last few weeks, our research has provided some of the first quantitative evidence of increased public health hiring and employee sentiment in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Job openings are declining modestly week-over-week, according to Glassdoor data. As of Friday March 13, job openings decreased 1.5 percent week-over-week from March 6. As the chart below shows, job openings were steadily increasing in the first two months of the year, before reversing course at the beginning of March. The increase in job openings in early 2020 gives the labor market some buffer against an outbreak-induced slowdown. However, a sustained slowdown in job openings would be a long-term risk to the labor market and the broader economy.

Job openings down week-over-week in 1st 2 weeks of March as coronavirus spreads

Why Does a 1.5 Percent Decline Matter?

It might seem unusual that job openings are only declining 1.5 percent week-over-week amid extreme volatility in the stock market, rapidly shifting behavior from consumers and increasingly aggressive actions by government entities. But for context, a 1.5 percent week-over-week decline now is equivalent to 89,000 fewer job openings, a substantial dip for just one week. According to Glassdoor data, a decline that large is already in the slowest 10 percent of weeks by job openings growth since the beginning of 2016.

Last week's job openings growth was slow, well below average

Additionally, in healthy economic times, weekly declines in job openings are normally followed by a snapback in the following week. But given the rapidly evolving outbreak, that seems unlikely today. A similarly sized drop over the next four weeks would compound into 356,000 fewer openings available for Americans, the worst monthly decline in the last four years.

Overall, it’s still unclear what the outbreak’s impact will be on job openings in the long run. Even if affected companies post fewer new job openings, unfilled job openings may stay open longer as companies take time to adapt their hiring processes during the outbreak. This may result in little net change to the stock of job openings despite large changes to the flows.

Employers might also be especially hesitant, after the historically  competitive labor market of recent years, to pull back on hiring after experiencing years of labor shortages. That’s reflected in the actions taken by some companies, like United, which has asked workers to volunteer for temporary leave instead of laying them off directly. As further evidence, we’ve seen some employers on Glassdoor ask candidates to continue applying even though interviewing has been temporarily paused.

Ultimately, while some companies may pull back on hiring or even lay off workers in the face of the outbreak, the aggregate economic data on Glassdoor suggests that demand for workers slowed only modestly last week. The upswing in job openings prior to the outbreak provides some buffer against ongoing headwinds, but a prolonged slowdown would risk spilling over to the rest of the labor market.

Industry Trends in Job Openings

Despite overall job openings changing modestly, the picture does change at the industry level.

  • Travel & tourism (-17.7 percent) is showing signs of drastic decline as heightened caution and travel restrictions hit the industry. Similarly, arts & entertainment job openings (-4.6 percent) have declined as shows are cancelled and parks are closed.
  • However, restaurants & bars (-1.0 percent) and retail (-1.3 percent) had not yet felt as large an immediate impact by the end of last week. However, with local governments increasingly considering closing down restaurants and stores, the situation may deteriorate quickly for those industries.
  • Manufacturing (-0.6 percent) showed a small decline last week. While supply chain disruptions may affect downstream manufacturers, job openings have remained steady. Additionally, manufacturing has been buffeted by trade headwinds for over a year now and is now lapping periods of weakness from one year prior. If job openings hold steady through the end of the month, manufacturing will have recorded its smallest year-over-year decline since Feb 2019.
  • Transportation & logistics (+12.9 percent) has rebounded. Data for the industry has been volatile from week-to-week as it’s buffeted by both headwinds and tailwinds. Delivery services and a shift to e-commerce in the face of the outbreak are increasing demand for workers at the same time that a slowdown in manufacturing overseas is slowing imports to the U.S. For example, Amazon has announced that it would hire an additional 100,000 workers to handle increased demand during the outbreak.
  • Openings in the tech industries (+0.5 percent) remain relatively flat, despite the prominent outbreaks in California and Washington—homes to major American tech hubs. Quick action from tech employers, the flexibility to allow their employees to work remotely, and the ability to adapt business processes quickly (e.g., conducting  interviews remotely) may have allowed tech job openings to skirt immediate impact from the outbreak.

Table 1: Job Openings Growth for Select Industries

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
CategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
Total5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
Arts & Entertainment54,80057,43956,57456,247-4.6%-3.1%-2.6%
Manufacturing234,306235,804235,470241,180-0.6%-0.5%-2.9%
Restaurants & Bars511,968517,361517,865458,135-1.0%-1.1%11.8%
Retail458,969464,871445,772465,022-1.3%3.0%-1.3%
Tech*424,510422,520445,348435,4840.5%-4.7%-2.5%
Transportation & Logistics292,482259,077272,646373,60812.9%7.3%-21.7%
Travel & Tourism70,30585,45986,974105,270-17.7%-19.2%-33.2%

*”Tech” is a group of three industries: “Computer Software & Hardware”, “Information Technology” and “Internet & Tech”

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

To see job openings growth for all industries, please refer to the appendix at the bottom of this post.

Geographic Trends in Job Openings

  • Job openings in California (+0.6 percent) remain relatively unaffected, despite declines in Washington (-3.7 percent) and New York (-2.5 percent). In particular, job openings in the San Francisco, CA (+0.7 percent) and San Jose, CA (-0.1 percent) metro areas are holding up while they decline in Seattle, WA (-4.2 percent) and New York City, NY (-2.7 percent).
  • Remote job openings declined 0.6 percent week-over-week, less than the national average and on top of a 24 percent year-over-year increase. As the coronavirus outbreak forces companies to consider remote work arrangements, demand for remote workers is likely to be less affected by the effects of the outbreak.

Table 2: Job Openings Growth for Select Geographic Areas

Job OpeningsPercent Change
Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
CategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
Total5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
CA674,177670,046663,433663,7770.6%1.6%1.6%
NY294,434301,952298,266296,791-2.5%-1.3%-0.8%
WA177,672184,410153,138146,175-3.7%16.0%21.5%
Remote9,3449,4029,4007,537-0.6%-0.6%24.0%
New York City, NY302,296310,629306,722304,365-2.7%-1.4%-0.7%
San Francisco, CA152,682151,549145,784149,8950.7%4.7%1.9%
San Jose, CA73,97074,03175,13074,219-0.1%-1.5%-0.3%
Seattle, WA133,754139,585113,540110,720-4.2%17.8%20.8%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

To see job openings growth for all geographic areas we track, please refer to the appendix at the bottom of this post.

Conclusion

In fast-changing economic times, private data can be a powerful supplement to the standard reports produced by the federal government. These staple reports are the gold standard for consistency and comparability over time, but when economic conditions are shifting rapidly, private data from online platforms like Glassdoor can provide early hints as to how the labor market is trending while government data is still being collected and processed. In today’s tumultuous environment, Glassdoor’s data is suggesting that the labor market is slowing but not tumbling. However, if declines in job openings continue as the outbreak worsens, a more dramatic slowdown in the labor market is possible.

This post is a continuation of our analysis on the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. To read our previous posts, please click here (Part 1, Part 2). For any questions or to speak with our Economic Research team, please contact pr at glassdoor.com.

Methodology

The 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 online jobs and salaries on Glassdoor. The data represents a snapshot of the number of job openings available on Glassdoor on the given dates. The historical dates are the comparable Fridays from the previous week, previous month and previous year. No additional smoothing, averaging or seasonal adjustment is performed. Because no smoothing or averaging takes place, the data may not be directly comparable to Glassdoor’s monthly Job Market Report—the March edition of which will be released on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 9:00 AM EDT.

Appendix

The following data is also available as an Excel file at this link.

Table A: Job Openings Growth by Industry

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
ReportCategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
TotalTotal5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
IndustryAccounting & Legal48,43249,01148,49764,798-1.2%-0.1%-25.3%
IndustryAerospace & Defense81,47982,35094,57990,474-1.1%-13.9%-9.9%
IndustryArchitecture & Civil Engineering43,06143,58664,29545,380-1.2%-33.0%-5.1%
IndustryArts & Entertainment54,80057,43956,57456,247-4.6%-3.1%-2.6%
IndustryAutomotive96,06496,80497,58486,986-0.8%-1.6%10.4%
IndustryBanking & Financial Services138,454140,171137,834131,939-1.2%0.4%4.9%
IndustryBeauty & Fitness79,02482,58680,37274,348-4.3%-1.7%6.3%
IndustryBiotech & Pharmaceuticals80,02081,98982,77876,377-2.4%-3.3%4.8%
IndustryBusiness Services10,33510,50911,03114,055-1.7%-6.3%-26.5%
IndustryComputer Software & Hardware179,440176,519165,671157,2021.7%8.3%14.1%
IndustryConstruction68,62668,54667,70773,0780.1%1.4%-6.1%
IndustryConsulting79,37679,54477,76177,728-0.2%2.1%2.1%
IndustryConsumer Electronics7,3137,3757,14559,565-0.8%2.4%-87.7%
IndustryConsumer Services14,86714,71514,51914,6121.0%2.4%1.7%
IndustryEducation & Schools219,953222,153217,074229,028-1.0%1.3%-4.0%
IndustryEnergy & Utilities46,27147,32448,38659,608-2.2%-4.4%-22.4%
IndustryFacilities52,92453,58246,72445,073-1.2%13.3%17.4%
IndustryFarming & Agriculture10,06010,32910,3079,991-2.6%-2.4%0.7%
IndustryGovernment137,332140,574150,594112,948-2.3%-8.8%21.6%
IndustryHealth Care & Hospitals826,469834,960825,310854,568-1.0%0.1%-3.3%
IndustryInformation Technology159,119162,799218,750200,025-2.3%-27.3%-20.5%
IndustryInsurance76,81977,20778,76188,728-0.5%-2.5%-13.4%
IndustryInternet & Tech85,95183,20260,92778,2573.3%41.1%9.8%
IndustryManufacturing234,306235,804235,470241,180-0.6%-0.5%-2.9%
IndustryMarketing & Advertising63,24864,92459,83361,362-2.6%5.7%3.1%
IndustryMedia & Publishing24,72125,91427,11328,303-4.6%-8.8%-12.7%
IndustryNonprofit71,80373,14871,13969,504-1.8%0.9%3.3%
IndustryPrivate Security24,69224,24323,84027,1881.9%3.6%-9.2%
IndustryReal Estate50,78453,12050,60049,499-4.4%0.4%2.6%
IndustryRestaurants & Bars511,968517,361517,865458,135-1.0%-1.1%11.8%
IndustryRetail458,969464,871445,772465,022-1.3%3.0%-1.3%
IndustrySupermarkets91,22391,34090,11789,189-0.1%1.2%2.3%
IndustryTelecommunications36,87837,39639,42839,967-1.4%-6.5%-7.7%
IndustryTransportation & Logistics292,482259,077272,646373,60812.9%7.3%-21.7%
IndustryTravel & Tourism70,30585,45986,974105,270-17.7%-19.2%-33.2%
IndustryWholesale29,96830,27230,29631,656-1.0%-1.1%-5.3%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Table B: Job Openings Growth by Industry Group

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
ReportCategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
TotalTotal5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
Industry GroupBusiness Services226,083228,231220,962245,131-0.9%2.3%-7.8%
Industry GroupProduction372,116375,807388,742401,253-1.0%-4.3%-7.3%
Industry GroupConstruction & Real Estate Services215,395218,834229,326213,030-1.6%-6.1%1.1%
Industry GroupConsumer Services376,659400,313402,564405,733-5.9%-6.4%-7.2%
Industry GroupFinance & Insurance215,273217,378216,595220,667-1.0%-0.6%-2.4%
Industry GroupHealth Care906,489916,949908,088930,945-1.1%-0.2%-2.6%
Industry GroupTech424,510422,520445,348435,4840.5%-4.7%-2.5%
Industry GroupRetail557,505563,586543,034613,776-1.1%2.7%-9.2%
Industry GroupPublic Services429,088435,875438,807411,480-1.6%-2.2%4.3%
Industry GroupFood Services511,968517,361517,865458,135-1.0%-1.1%11.8%
Industry GroupTrade & Transportation322,450289,349302,942405,26411.4%6.4%-20.4%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Table C: Job Openings Growth by Employer Size

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
ReportCategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
TotalTotal5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
Employer_Size1001-5000919,050936,200994,6821,000,435-1.8%-7.6%-8.1%
Employer_Size201-500498,629496,980505,496475,8010.3%-1.4%4.8%
Employer_Size5000+2,539,3692,563,0302,494,7162,518,462-0.9%1.8%0.8%
Employer_Size501-1000336,044336,947327,264346,644-0.3%2.7%-3.1%
Employer_Size51-200532,389542,869541,346495,887-1.9%-1.7%7.4%
Employer_Size<51580,045581,288589,194508,615-0.2%-1.6%14.0%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Table D: Job Openings Growth by State

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
ReportCategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
TotalTotal5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
StateAK11,71812,20212,24810,900-4.0%-4.3%7.5%
StateAL71,33573,00377,00677,754-2.3%-7.4%-8.3%
StateAR38,83639,95539,55439,611-2.8%-1.8%-2.0%
StateAZ119,715123,407119,410117,220-3.0%0.3%2.1%
StateCA674,177670,046663,433663,7770.6%1.6%1.6%
StateCO127,877129,721126,730121,890-1.4%0.9%4.9%
StateCT67,70869,69168,58965,149-2.8%-1.3%3.9%
StateDC45,40046,43047,15145,352-2.2%-3.7%0.1%
StateDE19,91920,27420,01118,808-1.8%-0.5%5.9%
StateFL324,810331,098330,821308,884-1.9%-1.8%5.2%
StateGA182,421185,989184,664195,583-1.9%-1.2%-6.7%
StateHI17,57318,54018,43218,095-5.2%-4.7%-2.9%
StateIA54,71456,30157,33362,142-2.8%-4.6%-12.0%
StateID22,27622,76122,67920,916-2.1%-1.8%6.5%
StateIL241,710246,200248,281262,438-1.8%-2.6%-7.9%
StateIN115,979120,242121,110120,369-3.5%-4.2%-3.6%
StateKS51,62052,68552,52752,318-2.0%-1.7%-1.3%
StateKY71,18872,05372,61669,291-1.2%-2.0%2.7%
StateLA60,21561,89262,91462,221-2.7%-4.3%-3.2%
StateMA189,318189,180185,072182,1340.1%2.3%3.9%
StateMD128,310131,107131,858127,320-2.1%-2.7%0.8%
StateME24,69325,19126,21123,392-2.0%-5.8%5.6%
StateMI151,890155,418156,335149,283-2.3%-2.8%1.7%
StateMN108,899111,510110,750110,840-2.3%-1.7%-1.8%
StateMO108,122109,956109,868109,137-1.7%-1.6%-0.9%
StateMS36,30337,09537,52835,759-2.1%-3.3%1.5%
StateMT14,86414,66022,48214,7331.4%-33.9%0.9%
StateNC189,224193,222193,370200,293-2.1%-2.1%-5.5%
StateND15,52715,80116,11215,323-1.7%-3.6%1.3%
StateNE31,95432,49432,97232,157-1.7%-3.1%-0.6%
StateNH31,94630,15531,35530,1955.9%1.9%5.8%
StateNJ150,396153,908151,735145,737-2.3%-0.9%3.2%
StateNM38,43539,67539,05634,883-3.1%-1.6%10.2%
StateNV47,33350,51648,50645,615-6.3%-2.4%3.8%
StateNY294,434301,952298,266296,791-2.5%-1.3%-0.8%
StateOH203,486209,282209,665201,065-2.8%-2.9%1.2%
StateOK55,36556,96957,58357,043-2.8%-3.9%-2.9%
StateOR68,44670,80869,22466,787-3.3%-1.1%2.5%
StatePA278,660286,971272,776228,643-2.9%2.2%21.9%
StateRI20,07320,44719,93617,972-1.8%0.7%11.7%
StateRemote9,3449,4029,4007,537-0.6%-0.6%24.0%
StateSC86,79888,64089,20788,248-2.1%-2.7%-1.6%
StateSD16,19216,40616,73015,848-1.3%-3.2%2.2%
StateTN116,963119,636118,632118,743-2.2%-1.4%-1.5%
StateTX469,874450,631450,154457,0144.3%4.4%2.8%
StateUT52,20853,16152,48450,238-1.8%-0.5%3.9%
StateVA190,979194,907193,179188,129-2.0%-1.1%1.5%
StateVT13,53813,73313,86011,926-1.4%-2.3%13.5%
StateWA177,672184,410153,138146,175-3.7%16.0%21.5%
StateWI110,592112,967112,598111,040-2.1%-1.8%-0.4%
StateWV32,55534,54035,14328,158-5.7%-7.4%15.6%
StateWY11,44711,74011,92911,263-2.5%-4.0%1.6%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Table E: Job Openings Growth for Select Metros

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020Mar 6, 2020Feb 14, 2020Mar 15, 2019
ReportCategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
TotalTotal5,851,4205,940,1225,893,8785,808,636-1.5%-0.7%0.7%
MetroAtlanta, GA114,243116,942115,026126,020-2.3%-0.7%-9.3%
MetroAustin, TX56,82456,22355,12752,3061.1%3.1%8.6%
MetroBoston, MA153,986152,565148,839147,2730.9%3.5%4.6%
MetroChicago, IL193,314197,389195,649205,864-2.1%-1.2%-6.1%
MetroDenver, CO76,62978,35376,36973,500-2.2%0.3%4.3%
MetroHouston, TX96,75195,75596,05095,8161.0%0.7%1.0%
MetroLos Angeles, CA213,752215,175212,558215,570-0.7%0.6%-0.8%
MetroNew York City, NY302,296310,629306,722304,365-2.7%-1.4%-0.7%
MetroPhiladelphia, PA117,210122,433117,653110,301-4.3%-0.4%6.3%
MetroSan Francisco, CA152,682151,549145,784149,8950.7%4.7%1.9%
MetroSan Jose, CA73,97074,03175,13074,219-0.1%-1.5%-0.3%
MetroSeattle, WA133,754139,585113,540110,720-4.2%17.8%20.8%
MetroWashington, DC180,368183,979183,500177,177-2.0%-1.7%1.8%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report