May Job Posting Trends

Published on Jun 4, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

May Job Posting Trends

Finally, May job postings pulled out of a seven-week nose dive. Weekly new job postings were, on average, up 134% from mid April, which was when new job postings (for now) officially bottomed out at 34% below the January/February average. By comparison, May’s new job postings by the third week were only 11% below the January/February average.

So while there’s still a ways to go to match pre-COVID levels, May job postings were indeed on the rise, especially in a few particular industries and occupations. This—especially in combination with the surprising fact that the US economy just added 224,000 jobs—is hopeful news.

Note: Job posting data from the fourth week of May is still fluctuating, so the chart displays job postings only through the third week of May.


Online shopping has 176% more new job postings than Jan/Feb average

Nonstore Retailers (online shopping) posted more than every other industry besides Truck Transportation. It had nearly 8,000 more new job postings (+176%) than its January/February average. Even as stay-at-home orders lift in numerous states, Americans continue to rely heavily on safe and convenient shopping from the couch—some for the first time. A recent analysis by ClearSale discovered that between March and April, the average number of brand new online shoppers rose by 12% in the US. Digital Commerce reports that in April alone, online sales increased 49% over 2019, and predicts that online shopping will continue to grow for the rest of 2020.

Notice that Truck Transportation added over 8,600 new job postings (16% growth) compared to its weekly average in January/February. While many industries have been contracting business and laying off workers, truck drivers continue to be in demand as they keep that supply chain moving. 

Other industries with increased new job postings include Building Material & Garden Equipment & Supplies Dealers (7,473 new postings, +85%), Ambulatory Healthcare Services (5,370 new postings, +13%), and Miscellaneous Store Retailers (3,401 new job postings, +51%).

Note: Job posting data from the fourth week of May is still fluctuating, so the chart displays job postings only through the third week of May.


Ironically, Hospitals published 40% fewer job postings in May than in Jan/Feb

Hospitals published way fewer job postings in May: down 10,000 (-40%) compared to January/February. The reason for this is that the healthcare industry is struggling to align staff with the ragingly unpredictable needs due to COVID-19. While demand for more staff is acute in some areas (like New York City), it has decreased in others where the virus has had minimal presence. Many hospitals across the US have shut down all non-COVID-related procedures, and even where this isn’t the case, lots of folks hesitate to make those midnight visits to the ER—for fear of the virus. And where there are no (or not enough) patients, workers get furloughed or let go. In April, nearly 135,000 hospital workers lost their jobs, according to the Labor Department.

Administrative & Support Services has also seen a steep decline in new job postings compared to the January/February average: down by nearly 38,000 postings (-27%). New job postings for Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services have dropped by over 18,000 (-20%). Food Services & Drinking Places (-7,600, -23%) and Accommodation (-5,055, -62%) are still struggling as the great COVID shutdown seems to be punishing the hospitality industry particularly hard—to the tune of 12,000 jobs lost every day.

Note: Job posting data from the fourth week of May is still fluctuating, so the chart displays job postings only through the third week of May.


Manual labor occupations are posting now more than in early 2020

Several occupations featuring manual labor are posting more now than they were in January/February. Motor Vehicle Operators (4,000 more new postings, +5% over Jan/Feb), Material Moving Workers (1,700 more new postings, +27%), Construction Trades Workers (249 more new postings, +3%), and Helpers, Construction Trades (27 more new postings, +11%).


New job postings tanked for business occupations in May

Overall, lots of business occupations saw a decline in new job postings in May compared to the weekly January/February average: Computer Occupations (-36,000 new postings, -46%), Business Operations Specialists (-16,000 new postings, -52%), Advertising, Marketing, PR, and Sales Managers (-12,000, -55%), Other Management Occupations (-11,000 new postings, -40%), Engineers (-9,500 new postings, -47%), Operations Specialties Managers (-9,000 new postings, -49%), and Financial Specialists (-9,000 new postings, -48%).

Not many businesses are hiring these days. COVID-19 has proved a deadly predator to small businesses especially. Over 100,000 small businesses—at least 2% of all small businesses in America—have closed forever, unable to survive the economic strain of the COVID shutdown.


Almost every state is starting to recover new job postings, but…

Nearly every state saw at least a slight decline in new job postings starting as early as February. Most, however, have now begun to recover, though the majority are still a long ways from climbing back up to January’s numbers.

Click the chart to expand.

The best success story so far is Hawaii. Hawaii saw an -18% decline in new job postings in February, but in May actually had 5% more new job postings than in January. Or look at West Virginia, which had a strong -20% drop in February compared to January, but in May had a much smaller -12% drop. Florida and California also had more job postings in May than they did in April, though still below their January stats.

In other states, new job postings actually continued to decline throughout May. New Mexico saw a steady descent from -1% in February, to -4% in March, to -13% in April, and finally -17% last month. Rhode Island plunged from -7% to -24% from April to May. In both South Dakota and North Dakota, new job postings were at their lowest yet in May: -22% and -33% respectively. Washington, DC, also had its lowest number of new job postings: down -32% from January.









Emsi is doing everything we can to help get the economy back on its feet. We will continue to report on job posting trends (and other data), help people strategize on reemployment initiatives, and assist regions and organizations in developing strategies.

Check out our free job posting dashboard to get the most up-to-date view of the labor market’s response to COVID-19 . You can also find more COVID-19 research, tools, and webinars on our COVID-19 resources page.


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