September Job Market Report: Job Openings +0.4% As Recovery Flattens


September 29, 2020

Key Findings

  • The recovery slowed in September, with job openings rising barely 0.4 percent month-over-month to 5.15 million. Job openings remain 15 percent below pre-crisis levels, indicating sluggish progress toward a complete economic recovery.
  • September marks the beginning of the holiday hiring season for retail where job openings grew 3.0 percent month-over-month. Health care job openings continue to recover, now down only 3.0 percent compared to pre-crisis levels.
  • Smaller metropolitan areas have seen job openings rebound faster with the smallest metros only 5 percent below pre-crisis levels. The 5 largest metros, including New York City and Los Angeles, have lagged with job openings still down 20 percent, as they’ve battled the worst effects of the pandemic and as the share of economic activity shifts to smaller metros.
  • What to expect in the September jobs report: This Friday’s jobs report is likely to show slow but steady job gains. Permanent layoffs are likely to continue rising, highlighting the impact of the more-typical recession within the lockdown-induced recession.

The labor market recovery slowed yet again in September. Glassdoor’s latest Job Market Report shows that, as of September 21, 5.15 million job openings are available, a small 0.4 percent increase month-over-month. Job openings remain 15 percent below pre-crisis levels, highlighting that the labor market is still hundreds of thousands of job openings short of more normal times.

Job openings dropped precipitously at the start of the crisis, but unlike other labor market indicators, managed to stop falling much faster than during the Great Recession. Job openings dropped by over half at their worst point during the Great Recession, while during the current crisis, job openings bottomed out at 28 percent below pre-crisis levels. The slowing but continuing recovery in job openings is a case for cautious optimism: the labor market still has momentum but further improvement is required in order to make a complete recovery and mitigate permanent economic damage.

Based on an analysis of employer job posting behavior on Glassdoor, 40 percent of employers reduced or paused all job openings in September, marking a reversal from previous months when the share of employers expanding job openings exceeded the share of those reducing or pausing all postings.

Change in Job Openings by Industry

  • Retail job openings increased 3.0 percent month-over-month as the holiday retail hiring season begins. Despite the ongoing pandemic, hundreds of thousands of workers are still likely to be hired for this holiday season, though traditional retailers may not plan to hire as many workers, while warehouse and logistics workers may make up a larger share of holiday workers to support the shift in consumer demand to e-commerce.
  • Health care job openings rose 0.1 percent month-over-month, reaching a total of 887,360 open jobs, just 3.0 percent shy of pre-crisis levels. In addition to the increase in demand for pandemic-related workers, dentists and other health care providers have been able to reopen as restrictions are lifted and employers implement new safety procedures.

Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Industry Group Month-over-Month % Change
U.S. Total 0.4%
Business Services 1.2%
Construction & Real Estate Services -0.8%
Consumer Services -4.8%
Finance & Insurance 3.0%
Food Services -0.2%
Health Care 0.1%
Manufacturing & Production 2.2%
Public Services -1.0%
Retail 3.0%
Tech 8.6%
Trade & Transportation 0.4%

Note: Data as of September 21, 2020
Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, September 29, 2020

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

Larger Metros Lagging, Smaller Metros Recovering Faster

Job openings in the smallest metros have rebounded faster over the course of the crisis, while larger metros have lagged. Many early outbreaks were concentrated in the largest metros like New York City, frontloading economic damage before a public health response was in place. Even metros like San Francisco, which avoided large outbreaks, may have muted economic activity due to stricter ongoing restrictions. The sheer scale of economic damage means that even now, these metros are still slowly unwinding the effects.

Smaller metros, in many cases, have been able to avoid outbreaks as severe as those seen in the largest metros. As a result, many have been able to avoid harsher lockdown measures or have lifted restrictions more quickly. In addition to faster reopening, the transition to remote work has encouraged migration from high-cost metros to smaller cities around the country, with new job openings following this shift in economic activity. The permanence of this trend depends on the staying power of remote work. At least in the short-term, smaller metros appear to have an economic leg up.

The table below shows how job openings have changed over the course of the crisis for metros, grouped by size. It shows that job openings in the 5 largest metros are still 20 percent below pre-crisis levels. As the size of the metros decrease, the decline in job openings shrinks as well.

Change in Job Openings by Metro Size Rank

Metro Rank by Size Job Openings – 3/16/20 Job Openings – 9/21/2020 % Change
#1–#5 1,087,565 870,381 -20%
#6–#10 696,204 547,305 -21%
#11–#20 781,731 635,213 -19%
#21–#50 1,140,828 965,839 -15%
#51–#100 661,623 600,322 -9%
#101–#200 555,381 503,813 -9%
#201+ 688,525 653,966 -5%
U.S. Total 6,037,832 5,150,109 -15%

Note: Metros ranked by job openings on March 16, 2020.
Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, September 29, 2020

The chart below shows the trend in job openings by metro size, showing that the trend has held over the course of the crisis, with some increasing separation in the last few months as smaller metros have rebounded faster.

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

What to Expect in September Jobs Report

Glassdoor data shows that growth in demand for workers has slowed in September, even though job openings are 15 percent below pre-crisis levels. However, job openings are also still much higher than during the equivalent point in the Great Recession, which may be an optimistic sign if higher demand for workers can prop up and even accelerate the recovery in the labor market. That, however, will depend on demand for workers staying strong and continuing to make progress toward pre-crisis levels.

This Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release the September jobs report, and it’s likely to show slow but steady job gains in line with what was seen in August. The rehiring of temporarily laid off workers is low-hanging economic fruit still available to the recovery, but the critical data point to watch is permanent layoffs. Rising permanent layoffs highlight the impact of the more-typical recession within the pandemic recession and indicate how much economic scarring will need to be healed after the crisis is over.

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 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.

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 Openings Percent Change
Sep 21, 2020 Sep 14, 2020 Aug 24, 2020 Sep 23, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,150,109 5,176,967 5,127,911 6,174,527 -0.5% 0.4% -16.6%
Accounting & Legal 34,634 34,690 33,865 52,575 -0.2% 2.3% -34.1%
Aerospace & Defense 56,539 57,712 57,571 104,876 -2.0% -1.8% -46.1%
Architecture & Civil Engineering 26,754 26,960 26,167 43,002 -0.8% 2.2% -37.8%
Arts & Entertainment 27,215 27,252 26,664 55,129 -0.1% 2.1% -50.6%
Automotive 87,831 88,357 87,767 106,499 -0.6% 0.1% -17.5%
Banking & Financial Services 98,943 98,966 95,171 131,089 0.0% 4.0% -24.5%
Beauty & Fitness 58,424 58,604 57,765 85,499 -0.3% 1.1% -31.7%
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals 71,137 71,612 69,650 74,941 -0.7% 2.1% -5.1%
Business Services 8,644 8,485 7,982 12,802 1.9% 8.3% -32.5%
Computer Software & Hardware 123,989 126,575 114,957 160,196 -2.0% 7.9% -22.6%
Construction 57,493 58,424 58,423 75,607 -1.6% -1.6% -24.0%
Consulting 57,337 58,020 57,446 81,492 -1.2% -0.2% -29.6%
Consumer Electronics 13,944 12,033 10,534 12,445 15.9% 32.4% 12.0%
Consumer Services 16,998 17,417 34,405 14,835 -2.4% -50.6% 14.6%
Education & Schools 157,155 157,327 160,842 226,520 -0.1% -2.3% -30.6%
Energy & Utilities 35,790 35,959 35,248 52,228 -0.5% 1.5% -31.5%
Facilities 47,172 47,451 47,027 49,221 -0.6% 0.3% -4.2%
Farming & Agriculture 9,141 9,166 8,953 10,380 -0.3% 2.1% -11.9%
Government 122,718 121,824 122,562 137,937 0.7% 0.1% -11.0%
Health Care & Hospitals 816,232 814,144 816,723 840,001 0.3% -0.1% -2.8%
Information Technology 110,368 105,923 103,860 167,672 4.2% 6.3% -34.2%
Insurance 64,532 64,712 63,489 100,915 -0.3% 1.6% -36.1%
Internet & Tech 220,905 230,692 200,325 97,288 -4.2% 10.3% 127.1%
Manufacturing 190,708 190,066 184,062 229,163 0.3% 3.6% -16.8%
Marketing & Advertising 65,727 65,687 66,371 58,552 0.1% -1.0% 12.3%
Media & Publishing 13,651 13,598 13,335 26,006 0.4% 2.4% -47.5%
Nonprofit 57,620 57,985 57,590 72,316 -0.6% 0.1% -20.3%
Private Security 25,547 22,986 23,962 22,294 11.1% 6.6% 14.6%
Real Estate 46,552 47,488 47,790 52,930 -2.0% -2.6% -12.0%
Restaurants & Bars 466,442 470,289 467,453 609,604 -0.8% -0.2% -23.5%
Retail 403,385 400,032 392,698 548,678 0.8% 2.7% -26.5%
Supermarkets 97,660 98,060 96,520 98,952 -0.4% 1.2% -1.3%
Telecommunications 28,105 28,216 27,178 39,269 -0.4% 3.4% -28.4%
Transportation & Logistics 218,654 225,675 219,428 293,153 -3.1% -0.4% -25.4%
Travel & Tourism 39,930 39,784 38,645 88,466 0.4% 3.3% -54.9%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, September 28, 2020

Table B: Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Job Openings Percent Change
Sep 21, 2020 Sep 14, 2020 Aug 24, 2020 Sep 23, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,150,109 5,176,967 5,127,911 6,174,527 -0.5% 0.4% -16.6%
Business Services 191,889 189,868 189,626 227,715 1.1% 1.2% -15.7%
Construction & Real Estate Services 177,971 180,323 179,407 220,760 -1.3% -0.8% -19.4%
Consumer Services 272,154 273,228 285,759 415,703 -0.4% -4.8% -34.5%
Finance & Insurance 163,475 163,678 158,660 232,004 -0.1% 3.0% -29.5%
Food Services 466,442 470,289 467,453 609,604 -0.8% -0.2% -23.5%
Health Care 887,369 885,756 886,373 914,942 0.2% 0.1% -3.0%
Production 292,178 292,903 285,834 396,647 -0.2% 2.2% -26.3%
Public Services 337,493 337,136 340,994 436,773 0.1% -1.0% -22.7%
Retail 514,989 510,125 499,752 660,075 1.0% 3.0% -22.0%
Tech 455,262 463,190 419,142 425,156 -1.7% 8.6% 7.1%
Trade & Transportation 244,625 251,209 243,643 325,478 -2.6% 0.4% -24.8%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, September 28, 2020

Table C: Change in Job Openings by State

Job Openings Percent Change
Sep 21, 2020 Sep 14, 2020 Aug 24, 2020 Sep 23, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,150,109 5,176,967 5,127,911 6,174,527 -0.5% 0.4% -16.6%
Remote 21,071 20,566 18,349 11,500 2.5% 14.8% 83.2%
AK 10,710 10,658 10,610 11,999 0.5% 0.9% -10.7%
AL 71,334 70,910 71,049 77,015 0.6% 0.4% -7.4%
AR 40,533 40,353 40,328 42,917 0.4% 0.5% -5.6%
AZ 109,306 107,117 108,026 123,814 2.0% 1.2% -11.7%
CA 533,455 536,592 533,173 689,929 -0.6% 0.1% -22.7%
CO 99,871 100,015 99,610 137,752 -0.1% 0.3% -27.5%
CT 55,629 55,851 54,485 71,746 -0.4% 2.1% -22.5%
DC 32,442 32,283 32,323 46,645 0.5% 0.4% -30.4%
DE 17,457 17,295 17,520 19,912 0.9% -0.4% -12.3%
FL 279,010 272,423 275,509 323,064 2.4% 1.3% -13.6%
GA 168,500 166,183 165,654 200,476 1.4% 1.7% -16.0%
HI 12,343 12,467 13,289 19,296 -1.0% -7.1% -36.0%
IA 55,003 54,831 53,694 59,476 0.3% 2.4% -7.5%
ID 22,582 22,331 21,949 24,010 1.1% 2.9% -5.9%
IL 219,471 209,713 216,275 267,940 4.7% 1.5% -18.1%
IN 111,633 111,554 112,639 123,952 0.1% -0.9% -9.9%
KS 49,295 49,133 48,405 55,986 0.3% 1.8% -12.0%
KY 72,697 72,004 72,306 75,980 1.0% 0.5% -4.3%
LA 56,992 56,625 57,712 65,223 0.6% -1.2% -12.6%
MA 180,857 179,240 164,418 196,812 0.9% 10.0% -8.1%
MD 118,377 119,159 115,429 138,725 -0.7% 2.6% -14.7%
ME 27,695 27,643 27,057 25,149 0.2% 2.4% 10.1%
MI 146,579 148,314 154,499 161,080 -1.2% -5.1% -9.0%
MN 91,128 92,914 91,328 114,918 -1.9% -0.2% -20.7%
MO 101,184 96,354 95,119 115,776 5.0% 6.4% -12.6%
MS 37,643 36,301 36,101 38,217 3.7% 4.3% -1.5%
MT 15,731 15,343 15,383 17,651 2.5% 2.3% -10.9%
NC 172,542 172,207 170,255 209,105 0.2% 1.3% -17.5%
ND 14,752 14,385 14,171 16,291 2.6% 4.1% -9.4%
NE 34,526 34,965 34,041 33,108 -1.3% 1.4% 4.3%
NH 34,930 33,799 29,981 33,289 3.3% 16.5% 4.9%
NJ 135,727 147,594 152,804 157,467 -8.0% -11.2% -13.8%
NM 35,668 35,328 36,766 41,141 1.0% -3.0% -13.3%
NV 39,932 39,764 40,492 50,027 0.4% -1.4% -20.2%
NY 232,001 234,825 231,742 317,149 -1.2% 0.1% -26.8%
OH 180,416 184,811 181,530 226,905 -2.4% -0.6% -20.5%
OK 51,277 51,298 51,793 61,089 0.0% -1.0% -16.1%
OR 59,835 59,502 59,932 73,442 0.6% -0.2% -18.5%
PA 224,129 229,422 226,878 256,663 -2.3% -1.2% -12.7%
RI 19,025 18,810 17,781 21,161 1.1% 7.0% -10.1%
SC 83,992 84,019 84,227 92,105 0.0% -0.3% -8.8%
SD 15,789 15,783 15,781 17,359 0.0% 0.1% -9.0%
TN 116,314 112,779 112,351 128,887 3.1% 3.5% -9.8%
TX 388,363 420,299 398,542 485,503 -7.6% -2.6% -20.0%
UT 46,256 46,798 47,062 58,672 -1.2% -1.7% -21.2%
VA 170,883 170,858 172,652 203,897 0.0% -1.0% -16.2%
VT 12,140 11,857 11,858 13,712 2.4% 2.4% -11.5%
WA 130,410 133,794 133,251 171,057 -2.5% -2.1% -23.8%
WI 103,694 101,808 94,181 113,059 1.9% 10.1% -8.3%
WV 31,623 31,201 30,465 35,631 1.4% 3.8% -11.2%
WY 10,242 10,210 9,871 12,638 0.3% 3.8% -19.0%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, September 28, 2020

Table D: Change in Job Openings for Select Metropolitan Areas

Job Openings Percent Change
Sep 21, 2020 Sep 14, 2020 Aug 24, 2020 Sep 23, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,150,109 5,176,967 5,127,911 6,174,527 -0.5% 0.4% -16.6%
Atlanta, GA 100,949 99,439 98,397 126,570 1.5% 2.6% -20.2%
Boston, MA 144,645 143,467 128,650 159,752 0.8% 12.4% -9.5%
Chicago, IL 178,758 168,199 171,501 211,095 6.3% 4.2% -15.3%
Houston, TX 76,463 80,697 77,532 100,838 -5.2% -1.4% -24.2%
Los Angeles, CA 158,919 160,202 161,915 226,696 -0.8% -1.9% -29.9%
New York City, NY 242,918 256,719 257,817 320,482 -5.4% -5.8% -24.2%
Philadelphia, PA 103,315 105,405 105,405 116,869 -2.0% -2.0% -11.6%
San Francisco, CA 118,865 120,365 114,912 151,768 -1.2% 3.4% -21.7%
Seattle, WA 93,801 96,537 96,286 129,584 -2.8% -2.6% -27.6%
Washington, DC 145,141 146,015 146,883 195,757 -0.6% -1.2% -25.9%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, September 28, 2020