Coronavirus and the US Job Market – JobsPikr’s Job Data Insights

When the Coronavirus changed life itself as we know it in March 2020, both national and regional governments swooped down to bring in restrictions that would stop the virus from spreading. These restrictions in turn caused different industries like aviation and food and beverages to scale down their operations. The restrictions and the lockdowns together sent shockwaves across the globe which in turn resulted in businesses downsizing. Many others had to close down and file bankruptcy which further shrank the US job market. Employment in Feb 2021 was around 8.5 million less than Feb 2020, states job market analysis US (right before the virus struck). 

While unemployment rates had shot up to 24.9% during the great depression, the levels seen during the Covid crisis were last hit during the pre-1950s. Even the Financial crisis of 2008 caused unemployment to just hit 10%, whereas, in 2020, it hit 14.8%.

Fig: US unemployment rate since 2000. Source: US unemployment sees surprise improvement in May – BBC News

The graph above gives a picture of how the job market faced a squeeze unlike any other since 2000. But the pandemic affected different sections of society differently:

#1: Loss of jobs was higher for women based on job data analysis US: The pandemic caused almost 3 million women to drop out of the American workforce. This has caused the participation of women in the job market to fall to levels, last seen at the end of the Reagan administration, almost 31 years ago. While a lot of these jobs are not likely to return once the pandemic is gone, even those who get their jobs back may find it hard to retain their earlier positions.

Job market analysis US can give you an answer for why the pandemic hit female employees harder. The industries dominated by women– retail, child-care, and hospitality were hit the hardest which result in more job losses for them. Also, the new challenges faced by families due to the pandemic has caused many women to take on more responsibilities at home, thus restricting their job options. A large percentage of these women who return to the job market may also need reskilling to fill up new shoes as the pandemic causes older positions to disappear and generates jobs that may be needed for the new normal.

#2: Job losses among the minority population were higher: Even in November 2020, when the job market was picking up, unemployment percentages among minorities were significantly higher. 

While whites saw an unemployment rate of just  5.9%, the numbers were as high as 10.3% for blacks, 8.4% for Hispanics, and 6.7% for Asians based on this report by the New York Times. 

#3: Low-wage workers faced higher job losses: As reported by the Feds, employment for the lowest-paid jobs was at 20% under pre-pandemic in Feb 2021. This is in stark contrast to a shortfall of just 5% for highly paid jobs. A big reason behind this can be the fact that customer-facing jobs that were lost in the pandemic usually were low-paying ones whereas the jobs like IT or Management which fetch higher salaries saw lower cuts. As the markets pick up, many of these jobs can be expected to return but the pace of recovery can be marred as companies take time to test the waters.

#4: Automation and machines are replacing jobs that were lost: To reduce direct interaction with customers along with costs, self-service kiosks, paperless tickets, scan-and-pay options, are becoming the norm, instead of being an option. This means many in the service industry who lost their jobs last year may return to find their jobs taken up by machines. Certain jobs like a receptionist may soon be a thing of the past. This is a stark difference from earlier years where machines were only taking over the factory floor. Using technology to reduce the risk of infection is much easier to implement than redesigning thousands of workplaces to facilitate social distancing.

Are Jobs Back on Track?

Based on the job data crawled by our in-house Job-feed and Analytics solution JobsPikr, certain trends have been spotted. February 2021 was the brightest month in terms of jobs added. The pandemic relief money along with rising vaccination numbers and falling infection rates helped the US economy add more jobs (more than 350,000) than expected. This boosted the numbers in the restaurants and the service industry thereby giving a much-needed thrust to the job figures.

While the pandemic is currently in its second year, we can now see a momentum in job growth fuelled by an accelerated pace of vaccinations and more fiscal stimulus. Even then, it would still take multiple years for the numbers to bounce back to pre-covid times. The scars inflicted by the virus would take time to heal.

As per one report by the Labor Department, around 3.5 million employees have permanently lost their jobs whereas 4.1 million have been out of work for more than a month– making up more than  41.5% of the total unemployed population.

One of the sectors that downsized the hardest– the entertainment and hospitality industry currently accounts for the largest section of the new job listings. It made up for as much as 94% of all jobs created last month. Of these, restaurants and bars are the largest chunk of the pie, totaling around 286,000 new hiring.  

Based on the data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, we can also see that healthcare came second in terms of new jobs added at around 45,600 new hirings. A close third was the retail industry which saw a boost due to relaxed restrictions in most states in the US and was thus able to add around 41,000 jobs. Increasing demands for consumer goods also pushed the manufacturing sector to add almost 21,000 jobs. Half of this gain was in the transportation industry which is yet to recover from the global semiconductor shortage that has crippled its production capabilities.

Some of the biggest losses in the US job market came from the construction business, which lost jobs due to the bitter cold, along with government positions that found a staggering payroll decrease of around 86,000. These are data stated from job market analysis US.

Job Data Analysis US – Where Does the Latest Count Stand?

Based on our study of the latest report by the US Bureau of Labor Standards, which was released on May 7, 2021, non-farm jobs added around 266,000 new employees. This number clearly shows that the growth in jobs has decreased as compared to earlier months. The unemployment rate stands at 6.1 percent, which is considerably lower from the heights of unemployment due to COVID, and yet much higher than the pre-COVID figure of 3.5 percent (in Feb 2020).

The change in the those who are laid-off stood at around 2.1 million, whereas those who lost their jobs permanently stood at a much higher figure of 3.5 million. Both the numbers saw only slight changes as compared to the last few months even though both have improved gradually from the lowest points. The numbers for those who had to seek part-time jobs due to their hours being cut short or due to lower business hours saw have plummeted by almost half a million to 5.2 million in April. Many of these employees have to make do with part-time jobs due to the unavailability of full-time ones. Job market analysis US denotes a gradual dip in the job postings data.

Scraping and Analyzing Job data

DIY solutions may not take you a long way towards procuring region-specific or industry-specific job listings, or job feed. Instead, you would need a full-fledged enterprise-grade solution to get you all the data in a format that you could easily work with. The pandemic has led to both government and private organizations scrambling to study job data to roll out new measures or decide on their strategies to handle the situation. 

Our customizable job-feed solution, Jobspikr,  can help anyone plug in a live data feed into their analytics engine. This live feed that would get updated in real-time, can provide you with insights across different industries and locations. You can train your models or fix the accuracy of your algorithms using this job feed. In case you are trying to study the effect of the pandemic on a niche sector, you can use the available filters that we offer to filter out new job listings based on geography, industry, job titles, or even keywords. Job market analysis US shows that there is a gradual dip in the job postings over the past two years.

Much would change in the post-pandemic world, and data is going to be the key to understanding the growth of industries as well as new job roles.

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