Holiday Rush in October Job Postings

Published on Nov 6, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

Holiday Rush in October Job Postings

A hiring binge of lots (and lots) of seasonal workers generated most of the trends in October job postings. With COVID dragging on, and Thanksgiving and Christmas looming large, Amazon, USPS, FedEx, Walmart, and others are furiously posting new jobs.

In other words, millions of Americans are still shopping—both online and in-person. And millions are still working their hardest to stock shelves and deliver packages across a stay-at-home-centric economy.

Let’s take a look at these trends in October job postings.

October job postings up 33% over pre-COVID numbers

US employers added 4.7 million new job postings in October. That’s 33% more new job postings than we had before COVID, comparing October’s total against the January/February combined average. That’s also 19% over September’s new job postings. With continuing jobless claims falling to 7.2 million, unemployment has now declined to just below 7%. the economy continues to flicker back to life.

But it isn’t a clean victory…yet. Spurts in new jobs and job postings are great, but we’re facing a danger that probably seemed unlikely six months ago: not enough talent, which could lead to drastic wage inflation. 

USPS, FedEx, and Amazon are all hiring seasonal workers

Lots of familiar players published huge amounts of job postings in October. The top industries include the postal service, couriers & messengers (“delivery people“), online shopping, and general merchandise stores, and food & beverage stores. Stores are stocking up on holiday food fare. Retailers are encouraging Christmas procrastinators to get a move on. And Americans are projected to spend more than ever online.

  • Postal service (+355% increase over Jan/Feb) – USPS reported a $4.5 billion loss in January-March this year, and that was before the full effects of the shutdown had finished rippling. By the end of 2021, the postal service could lose more than $22 billion. But even amidst its budget woes, USPS is trying to hire lots of seasonal workers to keep up with the holiday stampede.

  • Couriers & messengers (+324%) – FedEx is hiring 70,000 seasonal workers. New job postings skyrocketed by 72% from September to October.

  • Online shopping (+188%) – Most of these job postings are from Amazon. In September, Amazon announced its fourth hiring spree of 2020. The retail giant is looking to hire 100,000 seasonal workers in the US and Canada.

  • General merchandise stores (+182%) – Walmart is hiring for about 35,000 positions.

  • Support activities for transportation (+75%) – This includes Hogan Transports, Bolt Express, and Carrier One. October job postings were 75% above the January/February average, and 13% above September.

  • Food & beverage stores (+66%) – Kroger, Jobot, and Pilot Flying J are all hiring. Back in the height of the shutdown, Kroger was hiring thousands of workers to keep up with the demand for goods and deliveries. The demand for more workers continues.

  • Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments (+49%) – Fidelity published the majority of new job postings as they seek to fill 4,000 new positions. Industry job postings were up nearly 70% in October over September.

  • Ambulatory healthcare services (+48%) – Ambulatory care refers to outpatient care that you receive without being admitted to the hospital—including many “elective” surgeries and procedures that were banned from March through May in numerous states. As we observed in August, job postings are accelerating as states lift their restrictions and hospitals rush to address the backlog of surgeries. Ambulatory healthcare had nearly 82,000 more new job postings in October than they did before COVID. Home Instead Senior Care is one such healthcare company with new job postings.

Sales jobs could rescue dislocated workers in 2020

Occupations in healthcare, warehousing, and transportation are all posting for new jobs. But one occupation in particular stands out: sales.

In October, three sales occupations together had over 300,000 new job postings:

  • Supervisors of sales workers

  • Marketing, PR, and sales managers

  • Sales reps of services

As we noted in a separate study, these types of professional sales jobs could be a good next step for dislocated Americans. Not only do sales jobs pay well, they also require many human skills (aka soft skills) that you might already have—especially if you’re one of the thousands who lost their job in hospitality. With a bit more training, you could find yourself ready for a career in professional sales.

We will continue to publish our monthly observations on trends in job postings and the economy.

Check out the monthly job posting reports: April, May, June, July, August


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