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, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
Arts & Entertainment 54,800 57,439 56,574 56,247 -4.6% -3.1% -2.6%
Manufacturing 234,306 235,804 235,470 241,180 -0.6% -0.5% -2.9%
Restaurants & Bars 511,968 517,361 517,865 458,135 -1.0% -1.1% 11.8%
Retail 458,969 464,871 445,772 465,022 -1.3% 3.0% -1.3%
Tech* 424,510 422,520 445,348 435,484 0.5% -4.7% -2.5%
Transportation & Logistics 292,482 259,077 272,646 373,608 12.9% 7.3% -21.7%
Travel & Tourism 70,305 85,459 86,974 105,270 -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 Openings Percent Change
Mar 13, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
CA 674,177 670,046 663,433 663,777 0.6% 1.6% 1.6%
NY 294,434 301,952 298,266 296,791 -2.5% -1.3% -0.8%
WA 177,672 184,410 153,138 146,175 -3.7% 16.0% 21.5%
Remote 9,344 9,402 9,400 7,537 -0.6% -0.6% 24.0%
New York City, NY 302,296 310,629 306,722 304,365 -2.7% -1.4% -0.7%
San Francisco, CA 152,682 151,549 145,784 149,895 0.7% 4.7% 1.9%
San Jose, CA 73,970 74,031 75,130 74,219 -0.1% -1.5% -0.3%
Seattle, WA 133,754 139,585 113,540 110,720 -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, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Report Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
Industry Accounting & Legal 48,432 49,011 48,497 64,798 -1.2% -0.1% -25.3%
Industry Aerospace & Defense 81,479 82,350 94,579 90,474 -1.1% -13.9% -9.9%
Industry Architecture & Civil Engineering 43,061 43,586 64,295 45,380 -1.2% -33.0% -5.1%
Industry Arts & Entertainment 54,800 57,439 56,574 56,247 -4.6% -3.1% -2.6%
Industry Automotive 96,064 96,804 97,584 86,986 -0.8% -1.6% 10.4%
Industry Banking & Financial Services 138,454 140,171 137,834 131,939 -1.2% 0.4% 4.9%
Industry Beauty & Fitness 79,024 82,586 80,372 74,348 -4.3% -1.7% 6.3%
Industry Biotech & Pharmaceuticals 80,020 81,989 82,778 76,377 -2.4% -3.3% 4.8%
Industry Business Services 10,335 10,509 11,031 14,055 -1.7% -6.3% -26.5%
Industry Computer Software & Hardware 179,440 176,519 165,671 157,202 1.7% 8.3% 14.1%
Industry Construction 68,626 68,546 67,707 73,078 0.1% 1.4% -6.1%
Industry Consulting 79,376 79,544 77,761 77,728 -0.2% 2.1% 2.1%
Industry Consumer Electronics 7,313 7,375 7,145 59,565 -0.8% 2.4% -87.7%
Industry Consumer Services 14,867 14,715 14,519 14,612 1.0% 2.4% 1.7%
Industry Education & Schools 219,953 222,153 217,074 229,028 -1.0% 1.3% -4.0%
Industry Energy & Utilities 46,271 47,324 48,386 59,608 -2.2% -4.4% -22.4%
Industry Facilities 52,924 53,582 46,724 45,073 -1.2% 13.3% 17.4%
Industry Farming & Agriculture 10,060 10,329 10,307 9,991 -2.6% -2.4% 0.7%
Industry Government 137,332 140,574 150,594 112,948 -2.3% -8.8% 21.6%
Industry Health Care & Hospitals 826,469 834,960 825,310 854,568 -1.0% 0.1% -3.3%
Industry Information Technology 159,119 162,799 218,750 200,025 -2.3% -27.3% -20.5%
Industry Insurance 76,819 77,207 78,761 88,728 -0.5% -2.5% -13.4%
Industry Internet & Tech 85,951 83,202 60,927 78,257 3.3% 41.1% 9.8%
Industry Manufacturing 234,306 235,804 235,470 241,180 -0.6% -0.5% -2.9%
Industry Marketing & Advertising 63,248 64,924 59,833 61,362 -2.6% 5.7% 3.1%
Industry Media & Publishing 24,721 25,914 27,113 28,303 -4.6% -8.8% -12.7%
Industry Nonprofit 71,803 73,148 71,139 69,504 -1.8% 0.9% 3.3%
Industry Private Security 24,692 24,243 23,840 27,188 1.9% 3.6% -9.2%
Industry Real Estate 50,784 53,120 50,600 49,499 -4.4% 0.4% 2.6%
Industry Restaurants & Bars 511,968 517,361 517,865 458,135 -1.0% -1.1% 11.8%
Industry Retail 458,969 464,871 445,772 465,022 -1.3% 3.0% -1.3%
Industry Supermarkets 91,223 91,340 90,117 89,189 -0.1% 1.2% 2.3%
Industry Telecommunications 36,878 37,396 39,428 39,967 -1.4% -6.5% -7.7%
Industry Transportation & Logistics 292,482 259,077 272,646 373,608 12.9% 7.3% -21.7%
Industry Travel & Tourism 70,305 85,459 86,974 105,270 -17.7% -19.2% -33.2%
Industry Wholesale 29,968 30,272 30,296 31,656 -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, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Report Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
Industry Group Business Services 226,083 228,231 220,962 245,131 -0.9% 2.3% -7.8%
Industry Group Production 372,116 375,807 388,742 401,253 -1.0% -4.3% -7.3%
Industry Group Construction & Real Estate Services 215,395 218,834 229,326 213,030 -1.6% -6.1% 1.1%
Industry Group Consumer Services 376,659 400,313 402,564 405,733 -5.9% -6.4% -7.2%
Industry Group Finance & Insurance 215,273 217,378 216,595 220,667 -1.0% -0.6% -2.4%
Industry Group Health Care 906,489 916,949 908,088 930,945 -1.1% -0.2% -2.6%
Industry Group Tech 424,510 422,520 445,348 435,484 0.5% -4.7% -2.5%
Industry Group Retail 557,505 563,586 543,034 613,776 -1.1% 2.7% -9.2%
Industry Group Public Services 429,088 435,875 438,807 411,480 -1.6% -2.2% 4.3%
Industry Group Food Services 511,968 517,361 517,865 458,135 -1.0% -1.1% 11.8%
Industry Group Trade & Transportation 322,450 289,349 302,942 405,264 11.4% 6.4% -20.4%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Table C: Job Openings Growth by Employer Size

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Report Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
Employer_Size 1001-5000 919,050 936,200 994,682 1,000,435 -1.8% -7.6% -8.1%
Employer_Size 201-500 498,629 496,980 505,496 475,801 0.3% -1.4% 4.8%
Employer_Size 5000+ 2,539,369 2,563,030 2,494,716 2,518,462 -0.9% 1.8% 0.8%
Employer_Size 501-1000 336,044 336,947 327,264 346,644 -0.3% 2.7% -3.1%
Employer_Size 51-200 532,389 542,869 541,346 495,887 -1.9% -1.7% 7.4%
Employer_Size <51 580,045 581,288 589,194 508,615 -0.2% -1.6% 14.0%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report

Table D: Job Openings Growth by State

Job Openings

Percent Change

Mar 13, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Report Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
State AK 11,718 12,202 12,248 10,900 -4.0% -4.3% 7.5%
State AL 71,335 73,003 77,006 77,754 -2.3% -7.4% -8.3%
State AR 38,836 39,955 39,554 39,611 -2.8% -1.8% -2.0%
State AZ 119,715 123,407 119,410 117,220 -3.0% 0.3% 2.1%
State CA 674,177 670,046 663,433 663,777 0.6% 1.6% 1.6%
State CO 127,877 129,721 126,730 121,890 -1.4% 0.9% 4.9%
State CT 67,708 69,691 68,589 65,149 -2.8% -1.3% 3.9%
State DC 45,400 46,430 47,151 45,352 -2.2% -3.7% 0.1%
State DE 19,919 20,274 20,011 18,808 -1.8% -0.5% 5.9%
State FL 324,810 331,098 330,821 308,884 -1.9% -1.8% 5.2%
State GA 182,421 185,989 184,664 195,583 -1.9% -1.2% -6.7%
State HI 17,573 18,540 18,432 18,095 -5.2% -4.7% -2.9%
State IA 54,714 56,301 57,333 62,142 -2.8% -4.6% -12.0%
State ID 22,276 22,761 22,679 20,916 -2.1% -1.8% 6.5%
State IL 241,710 246,200 248,281 262,438 -1.8% -2.6% -7.9%
State IN 115,979 120,242 121,110 120,369 -3.5% -4.2% -3.6%
State KS 51,620 52,685 52,527 52,318 -2.0% -1.7% -1.3%
State KY 71,188 72,053 72,616 69,291 -1.2% -2.0% 2.7%
State LA 60,215 61,892 62,914 62,221 -2.7% -4.3% -3.2%
State MA 189,318 189,180 185,072 182,134 0.1% 2.3% 3.9%
State MD 128,310 131,107 131,858 127,320 -2.1% -2.7% 0.8%
State ME 24,693 25,191 26,211 23,392 -2.0% -5.8% 5.6%
State MI 151,890 155,418 156,335 149,283 -2.3% -2.8% 1.7%
State MN 108,899 111,510 110,750 110,840 -2.3% -1.7% -1.8%
State MO 108,122 109,956 109,868 109,137 -1.7% -1.6% -0.9%
State MS 36,303 37,095 37,528 35,759 -2.1% -3.3% 1.5%
State MT 14,864 14,660 22,482 14,733 1.4% -33.9% 0.9%
State NC 189,224 193,222 193,370 200,293 -2.1% -2.1% -5.5%
State ND 15,527 15,801 16,112 15,323 -1.7% -3.6% 1.3%
State NE 31,954 32,494 32,972 32,157 -1.7% -3.1% -0.6%
State NH 31,946 30,155 31,355 30,195 5.9% 1.9% 5.8%
State NJ 150,396 153,908 151,735 145,737 -2.3% -0.9% 3.2%
State NM 38,435 39,675 39,056 34,883 -3.1% -1.6% 10.2%
State NV 47,333 50,516 48,506 45,615 -6.3% -2.4% 3.8%
State NY 294,434 301,952 298,266 296,791 -2.5% -1.3% -0.8%
State OH 203,486 209,282 209,665 201,065 -2.8% -2.9% 1.2%
State OK 55,365 56,969 57,583 57,043 -2.8% -3.9% -2.9%
State OR 68,446 70,808 69,224 66,787 -3.3% -1.1% 2.5%
State PA 278,660 286,971 272,776 228,643 -2.9% 2.2% 21.9%
State RI 20,073 20,447 19,936 17,972 -1.8% 0.7% 11.7%
State Remote 9,344 9,402 9,400 7,537 -0.6% -0.6% 24.0%
State SC 86,798 88,640 89,207 88,248 -2.1% -2.7% -1.6%
State SD 16,192 16,406 16,730 15,848 -1.3% -3.2% 2.2%
State TN 116,963 119,636 118,632 118,743 -2.2% -1.4% -1.5%
State TX 469,874 450,631 450,154 457,014 4.3% 4.4% 2.8%
State UT 52,208 53,161 52,484 50,238 -1.8% -0.5% 3.9%
State VA 190,979 194,907 193,179 188,129 -2.0% -1.1% 1.5%
State VT 13,538 13,733 13,860 11,926 -1.4% -2.3% 13.5%
State WA 177,672 184,410 153,138 146,175 -3.7% 16.0% 21.5%
State WI 110,592 112,967 112,598 111,040 -2.1% -1.8% -0.4%
State WV 32,555 34,540 35,143 28,158 -5.7% -7.4% 15.6%
State WY 11,447 11,740 11,929 11,263 -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, 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Feb 14, 2020 Mar 15, 2019
Report Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total Total 5,851,420 5,940,122 5,893,878 5,808,636 -1.5% -0.7% 0.7%
Metro Atlanta, GA 114,243 116,942 115,026 126,020 -2.3% -0.7% -9.3%
Metro Austin, TX 56,824 56,223 55,127 52,306 1.1% 3.1% 8.6%
Metro Boston, MA 153,986 152,565 148,839 147,273 0.9% 3.5% 4.6%
Metro Chicago, IL 193,314 197,389 195,649 205,864 -2.1% -1.2% -6.1%
Metro Denver, CO 76,629 78,353 76,369 73,500 -2.2% 0.3% 4.3%
Metro Houston, TX 96,751 95,755 96,050 95,816 1.0% 0.7% 1.0%
Metro Los Angeles, CA 213,752 215,175 212,558 215,570 -0.7% 0.6% -0.8%
Metro New York City, NY 302,296 310,629 306,722 304,365 -2.7% -1.4% -0.7%
Metro Philadelphia, PA 117,210 122,433 117,653 110,301 -4.3% -0.4% 6.3%
Metro San Francisco, CA 152,682 151,549 145,784 149,895 0.7% 4.7% 1.9%
Metro San Jose, CA 73,970 74,031 75,130 74,219 -0.1% -1.5% -0.3%
Metro Seattle, WA 133,754 139,585 113,540 110,720 -4.2% 17.8% 20.8%
Metro Washington, DC 180,368 183,979 183,500 177,177 -2.0% -1.7% 1.8%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report