November Job Market Report: Job Openings Stumble -2.5% as Pandemic Surges


December 1, 2020

Key Findings

  • The recovery stumbled in November, as job openings fell 2.5 percent month-over-month to 5.45 million and are still down 10.2 percent from pre-crisis levels. The raging pandemic has tapped the brakes on the recovery in a reminder that the virus remains in the driver’s seat.
  • Employers are pulling back on hiring. 38 percent have reduced job openings in November,  up from 33 percent in October. Only 30 percent of employers are expanding job openings, the lowest share since May.
  • Every region across the United States is experiencing declines in job openings, which  reveals the far-reaching effects of the pandemic’s third wave. Even Plains states (like South Dakota and Kansas) that had recovered faster earlier in the recovery are now slipping. This level of uniform decline in job openings across the U.S. hasn’t been seen since May.
  • Job openings are falling across almost all major industry groups from tech (-7.3 percent month-over-month) to public services (-1.2 percent). The one exception is health care (+3.2 percent month-over-month), where health care providers are gearing up to fight the third wave even as other businesses pull back on hiring.

The recovery is flashing warning signs as COVID-19 cases surge and the country faces a long winter ahead. Glassdoor’s latest Job Market Report shows 5.45 million job openings are available across the U.S., a 2.5 percent decline month-over-month and still down more than 10 percent from pre-crisis levels. 

The drop in job openings comes as the winter approaches, a normally slow period for hiring as companies and job seekers alike wind down for the holidays. While it’s difficult to differentiate between the normal winter slowdown in hiring and the pandemic-induced slowdown, it seems that the dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, now at record levels, is tapping the brakes on the recovery.

News of a coming vaccine shines a light at the end of the tunnel, with a quick post-pandemic recovery still possible. Job openings are only down 10.2 percent relative to pre-crisis levels, compared to the 54 percent peak-to-trough collapse during the Great Recession. But with months to go before a vaccine is widely available, there unfortunately is still time for lasting economic damage to accumulate. If anything, the coming vaccine makes it all the more important to sustain the recovery and avoid tripping yards from the finish line.

Based on an analysis of employer job posting behavior on Glassdoor, 38 percent of employers reduced or paused all job openings in November, worsening from 33 percent in October. Despite stronger signs of economic recovery in October, employers are pulling back on hiring again. The percent of employers increasing job openings dropped to 30 percent, the lowest share since May.

Change in Job Openings by Industry

  • Job openings dropped in every major industry group except for health care, which saw job openings climb 3.2 percent month-over-month as health care providers around the country gear up to battle  the third wave of the pandemic.
  • Food services (-2.4 percent month-over-month) and retail (-3.0 percent) job openings have dropped in the last month. These industries are likely to be among the most susceptible to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases around the country. Even so, holiday hiring has been stronger than expected despite the pandemic-induced headwinds.
  • Construction & real estate services (-4.3 percent) job openings dropped month-over-month as winter approaches. The hot housing market isn’t enough to overcome the winter slowdown as construction firms reduce their demand for new workers in anticipation of the normal seasonal slowdown.

Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Industry GroupMonth-over-Month % Change
U.S. Total-2.5%
Business Services-5.0%
Construction & Real Estate Services-4.3%
Consumer Services-1.3%
Finance & Insurance-1.3%
Food Services-2.4%
Health Care3.2%
Manufacturing & Production-1.8%
Public Services-1.2%
Retail-3.0%
Tech-7.3%
Trade & Transportation-5.2%
Note: Data as of November 23, 2020
Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, December 1, 2020

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

Job Openings Dropping Across the Country

One way the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases differs from the first and second waves is in how widespread it is. Cases have surged around the country and the economic impact has been similarly dispersed.

Glassdoor data shows that job openings in each of the nine Census divisions have declined over the last month. The drop in job openings has been particularly pronounced in New England (-6.5 percent month-over-month) and the Pacific (-3.4 percent)—two regions that were both hit hard early on by the pandemic and have stricter restrictions in place than other parts of the country. 

The West South Central region, which includes hard-hit Plains states like North Dakota and South Dakota, saw its most severe drop in job openings since May with job openings dropping 3.9 percent. While this region had been one of the most resilient during the recovery, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to overwhelm the recovery in a reminder that the virus is in the driver’s seat.

Nationwide, 42 states and D.C. saw November job openings decline month-over-month. This level of uniform decline across the country hasn’t been seen since May, when the vast majority of states were still struggling to climb out of the depths of the first wave of the pandemic.

Change in Job Openings by Census Region and Division

Census RegionCensus DivisionMonth-over-Month % Change
U.S. TotalTotal-2.5%
NortheastNew England-6.5%
Middle Atlantic-3.4%
Subtotal-4.5%
MidwestEast North Central-2.3%
West North Central-3.9%
Subtotal-2.8%
SouthSouth Atlantic-2.0%
East South Central-2.0%
West South Central-1.6%
Subtotal-1.9%
WestMountain-1.5%
Pacific-3.4%
Subtotal-2.8%
Note: Data as of November 23, 2020. Census regions and divisions as defined here.
Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, December 1, 2020

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

Conclusion

Glassdoor data shows that the recovery is stumbling in November as the pandemic surges around the country. While hiring normally slows down in the winter, the broad drop in job openings across industry and region points to the worsening pandemic as a prominent cause. As the winter approaches, it will be even more difficult and important to control the pandemic and its economic impacts, especially with promising vaccine developments shining a light at the end of the tunnel.

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. Generally, “pre-crisis” refers to the level on March 16, 2020, the peak in job openings immediately prior to the beginning of the crisis.

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.

To speak with Daniel Zhao about this report, please contact pr@glassdoor.com. For the latest economics and labor market updates follow @DanielBZhao on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.

Appendix

Each table may not sum up to total. For example, industry data may be missing for some employers.

Table A: Change in Job Openings by Industry

Job OpeningsPercent Change
Nov 23, 2020Nov 16, 2020Oct 26, 2020Nov 25, 2019
CategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
Total5,449,0245,569,6855,587,3775,827,078-2.2%-2.5%-6.5%
Accounting & Legal34,61534,08838,02554,0691.5%-9.0%-36.0%
Aerospace & Defense53,89654,40158,80389,452-0.9%-8.3%-39.7%
Architecture & Civil Engineering27,87627,76428,01147,4660.4%-0.5%-41.3%
Arts & Entertainment28,87030,20631,74651,660-4.4%-9.1%-44.1%
Automotive95,36496,30395,547100,005-1.0%-0.2%-4.6%
Banking & Financial Services109,444109,545109,635130,343-0.1%-0.2%-16.0%
Beauty & Fitness57,90158,31258,88676,502-0.7%-1.7%-24.3%
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals76,81876,39975,87078,4190.5%1.2%-2.0%
Business Services8,0168,1558,83511,483-1.7%-9.3%-30.2%
Computer Software & Hardware149,506148,458138,432152,1130.7%8.0%-1.7%
Construction55,06956,24057,61872,906-2.1%-4.4%-24.5%
Consulting58,93559,07459,68776,703-0.2%-1.3%-23.2%
Consumer Electronics9,77610,19912,48311,282-4.1%-21.7%-13.3%
Consumer Services20,18721,25628,18814,875-5.0%-28.4%35.7%
Education & Schools148,125149,110146,344215,606-0.7%1.2%-31.3%
Energy & Utilities36,40636,13336,56647,9680.8%-0.4%-24.1%
Facilities43,54845,60647,00043,033-4.5%-7.3%1.2%
Farming & Agriculture8,8519,0939,3419,981-2.7%-5.2%-11.3%
Government118,835115,657122,936123,9582.7%-3.3%-4.1%
Health Care & Hospitals902,592912,912873,140850,223-1.1%3.4%6.2%
Information Technology109,906109,827117,115182,2570.1%-6.2%-39.7%
Insurance66,80268,57768,88975,346-2.6%-3.0%-11.3%
Internet & Tech197,070239,375236,66590,071-17.7%-16.7%118.8%
Manufacturing206,132206,851206,542231,136-0.3%-0.2%-10.8%
Marketing & Advertising66,49768,70370,72858,127-3.2%-6.0%14.4%
Media & Publishing14,03713,78014,39223,7151.9%-2.5%-40.8%
Nonprofit58,06158,65059,63071,174-1.0%-2.6%-18.4%
Private Security21,82523,09722,71020,820-5.5%-3.9%4.8%
Real Estate43,78544,61745,36349,456-1.9%-3.5%-11.5%
Restaurants & Bars478,194487,022490,109541,381-1.8%-2.4%-11.7%
Retail425,328431,934430,871503,503-1.5%-1.3%-15.5%
Supermarkets93,51795,319101,76790,382-1.9%-8.1%3.5%
Telecommunications39,13935,63630,22736,6679.8%29.5%6.7%
Transportation & Logistics250,992293,357266,091272,231-14.4%-5.7%-7.8%
Travel & Tourism42,96842,85143,54684,2090.3%-1.3%-49.0%

Table B: Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Job OpeningsPercent Change
Nov 23, 2020Nov 16, 2020Oct 26, 2020Nov 25, 2019
CategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
Total5,449,0245,569,6855,587,3775,827,078-2.2%-2.5%-6.5%
Business Services189,888193,117199,985221,202-1.7%-5.0%-14.2%
Construction & Real Estate Services170,278174,227177,992212,861-2.3%-4.3%-20.0%
Consumer Services298,466298,344302,532387,6330.0%-1.3%-23.0%
Finance & Insurance176,246178,122178,524205,689-1.1%-1.3%-14.3%
Food Services478,194487,022490,109541,381-1.8%-2.4%-11.7%
Health Care979,410989,311949,010928,642-1.0%3.2%5.5%
Production305,285306,478311,252378,537-0.4%-1.9%-19.4%
Public Services325,021323,417328,910410,7380.5%-1.2%-20.9%
Retail528,621537,452545,121605,167-1.6%-3.0%-12.6%
Tech456,482497,660492,212424,441-8.3%-7.3%7.5%
Trade & Transportation278,431321,040293,751301,041-13.3%-5.2%-7.5%

Table C: Change in Job Openings by State

Job OpeningsPercent Change
Nov 23, 2020Nov 16, 2020Oct 26, 2020Nov 25, 2019
CategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
Total5,449,0245,569,6855,587,3775,827,078-2.2%-2.5%-6.5%
Remote38,27434,08926,96210,17712.3%42.0%276.1%
AK10,96011,18310,94811,149-2.0%0.1%-1.7%
AL73,78573,97073,54873,812-0.3%0.3%0.0%
AR43,36745,17744,38239,481-4.0%-2.3%9.8%
AZ116,187119,003117,342115,452-2.4%-1.0%0.6%
CA554,085566,559565,864656,480-2.2%-2.1%-15.6%
CO107,410108,481108,894127,733-1.0%-1.4%-15.9%
CT61,22960,71160,55567,0140.9%1.1%-8.6%
DC31,97532,54133,24944,403-1.7%-3.8%-28.0%
DE17,89518,12117,97019,234-1.2%-0.4%-7.0%
FL304,973307,337304,391321,387-0.8%0.2%-5.1%
GA182,225183,538184,080185,834-0.7%-1.0%-1.9%
HI12,81012,75912,69718,1850.4%0.9%-29.6%
IA58,02363,88560,45256,213-9.2%-4.0%3.2%
ID25,27925,00926,21121,7121.1%-3.6%16.4%
IL227,319261,168234,943246,639-13.0%-3.2%-7.8%
IN119,252119,762118,866118,183-0.4%0.3%0.9%
KS52,49459,37356,76253,844-11.6%-7.5%-2.5%
KY77,65578,06578,50172,004-0.5%-1.1%7.8%
LA59,86761,35060,64062,932-2.4%-1.3%-4.9%
MA177,414181,518194,936184,091-2.3%-9.0%-3.6%
MD134,474137,562132,585129,560-2.2%1.4%3.8%
ME27,88028,81930,99925,599-3.3%-10.1%8.9%
MI154,982156,979161,917153,636-1.3%-4.3%0.9%
MN97,70498,901100,870111,423-1.2%-3.1%-12.3%
MO102,692103,025104,979109,894-0.3%-2.2%-6.6%
MS37,66638,10440,42538,437-1.1%-6.8%-2.0%
MT17,55117,33617,65317,4051.2%-0.6%0.8%
NC177,065182,820188,344192,650-3.1%-6.0%-8.1%
ND15,77215,55215,83815,2011.4%-0.4%3.8%
NE35,86735,98737,56332,406-0.3%-4.5%10.7%
NH31,27431,63632,72530,836-1.1%-4.4%1.4%
NJ137,029136,391138,717151,8740.5%-1.2%-9.8%
NM38,60539,11839,11538,845-1.3%-1.3%-0.6%
NV42,08442,49543,21247,200-1.0%-2.6%-10.8%
NY244,212244,673252,067294,070-0.2%-3.1%-17.0%
OH189,300191,795193,636203,487-1.3%-2.2%-7.0%
OK53,93554,84554,85158,367-1.7%-1.7%-7.6%
OR64,84766,32665,35769,114-2.2%-0.8%-6.2%
PA234,015239,444245,922259,385-2.3%-4.8%-9.8%
RI18,55118,89119,41919,703-1.8%-4.5%-5.8%
SC86,48890,29689,33087,692-4.2%-3.2%-1.4%
SD16,22515,90417,63216,1372.0%-8.0%0.5%
TN120,734124,333123,548122,160-2.9%-2.3%-1.2%
TX413,789417,719420,143452,035-0.9%-1.5%-8.5%
UT50,19950,67650,99851,750-0.9%-1.6%-3.0%
VA177,134178,089185,283192,006-0.5%-4.4%-7.7%
VT11,90512,12912,47513,578-1.8%-4.6%-12.3%
WA150,436163,843166,236150,608-8.2%-9.5%-0.1%
WI112,961112,941113,259109,1330.0%-0.3%3.5%
WV32,75133,44633,14735,400-2.1%-1.2%-7.5%
WY11,31011,14311,29711,2491.5%0.1%0.5%

Table D: Change in Job Openings for Select Metropolitan Areas

Job OpeningsPercent Change
Nov 23, 2020Nov 16, 2020Oct 26, 2020Nov 25, 2019
CategoryCurrent WeekLast WeekLast MonthLast YearWeek-over-WeekMonth-over-MonthYear-over-Year
Total5,449,0245,569,6855,587,3775,827,078-2.2%-2.5%-6.5%
Atlanta, GA111,034111,328110,252115,988-0.3%0.7%-4.3%
Boston, MA139,211142,507155,207149,482-2.3%-10.3%-6.9%
Chicago, IL182,243202,312184,945195,177-9.9%-1.5%-6.6%
Houston, TX78,66479,41379,18494,776-0.9%-0.7%-17.0%
Los Angeles, CA168,136170,408174,021212,235-1.3%-3.4%-20.8%
New York City, NY252,009249,922255,603301,2240.8%-1.4%-16.3%
Philadelphia, PA108,550111,630113,022111,759-2.8%-4.0%-2.9%
San Francisco, CA116,586118,758118,032148,689-1.8%-1.2%-21.6%
Seattle, WA107,529119,387121,112111,789-9.9%-11.2%-3.8%
Washington, DC155,508157,583159,563181,198-1.3%-2.5%-14.2%