Five Spooky Labor Market Facts

Published on Oct 31, 2021

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Clare Coffey

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Usually, labor market information is serious business. We talk about the roles and skills that keep businesses growing and workers putting food on the table. We think through serious problems around innovation, human capital, logistics, and more.

But sometimes it’s worth looking at the lighter side of the labor market. Or, in the case of Halloween, the spookier side. 

Here are five spooky labor market facts you probably didn’t know.

1. We’re missing six million workers

In 2018, Korn Ferry predicted that the US was facing a shortfall of six million workers. This gap has enormous implications for businesses, many of whom will need to rethink their entire approach to hiring and retention in order to cope with smaller talent pools.

In Demographic Drought, we argued that this worker shortfall is related to the steadily falling fertility rate, which leads to a smaller and smaller prime age workforce over the long term.

However, alternative explanations are always possible, and perhaps it’s time to consider the more sinister possibilities. Unfortunately, until the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey includes questions about lycanthropy, it’s all just speculation


2. Mortuary Services needs data entry

When it comes to spooky occupations, it’s hard to beat Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Arrangers. There are over 25,000 jobs in this occupational category, and about 222 unique job postings in an average month. 

Perhaps surprisingly, data entry is one of the top hard skills for this occupational group–demonstrating that no job is exempt from the trend towards digital skills we’ve observed across the economy.


  1. Demand for vampires is down

Some jobs just don’t show up quite as well in traditional LMI. Vampire is one of those jobs. Luckily, we have job postings.

To track demand for vampires in the US, we made the entirely defensible, rigorous, and economically sound assumption that any job posting containing the keyword “vampire” was in fact advertising a job for the town vampire.

Now, there were only 646 unique postings for vampire roles between October 2020 and September 2021. But that’s to be expected–it’s probably a fairly niche role. (In actual fact, most of the postings containing this keyword were for a mix of playfully advertised phlebotomy positions and creative work around paranormal entertainment franchises.)

What’s interesting is that demand is lower than it was last year, perhaps due to a rise in vampire hunting occupations.


  1. People are Tired of Living in Haunted Houses

Job postings for construction trades were quite a bit higher than they were this time last year.

There are probably several factors at play here: the post-pandemic recovery and the housing shortage, for example.

But we shouldn’t dismiss the (once again, rigorous and economically sound) possibility that people are simply fed up with living in haunted houses. When your pipes start to rattle and your lights begin to flicker, calling a supernatural exterminator is one option–but a plumber or electrician will probably deliver more value for money. 

  1. Folklore Studies peaked in 2017

Niche programs like folklore studies are often under-discussed compared to their STEM or business oriented counterparts. But if strange things are happening at your gothic mansion, or one of your friends is showing an uncanny resemblance to a fearsome creature of ancient legend, a folklorist is the person you want to talk to. 

In 2017, graduations from a folklore studies program peaked at just under 60, and began to decline. 


The good news is that folklorists tend to be experts in their field: a full quarter of all completions in folklore studies are at the Ph.D. level, compared to 3.6% for all programs in aggregate.

So if you do need to call on a folklorist to explain the goings-on at the ancestral manor, rest assured that you’re in good hands.


That’s a wrap on the state of this year’s spooky labor market. Happy Halloween to everyone in the Emsi Burning Glass family!