As COVID-19 cases soar, job openings decline broadly across US

Tech stumbled 7.3% in November, while healthcare rose 3.2% in the face of the pandemic's "third wave," according to Glassdoor.

Coronavirus, covid-19 news headlines on United States of America 100 dollar bills. Concept of financial impact, stock market decline and crash due to worldwide pandemic

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There's little doubt that the surging coronavirus has deeply affected both employers and job seekers in the US. The November installment of Glassdoor's latest Jobs Market Report found that every region in the US experienced declines in job openings,"which reveals the far-reaching effects of the pandemic's third wave," said the report's author, Daniel Zhao. While the Plains states, such as Kansas and South Dakota, once reported a faster recovery, are now slipping in the job market arena.

The level of uniform decline in job openings across the US has not been seen by Glassdoor since May. Total job openings in the US fell 2.5% month over month to 5.45 million, and while that's an impressive number, it's still down 10.2% from the pre-COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic  has "tapped the brakes on the recovery in a reminder that the virus remains in the driver's seat," Zhao noted.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

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Image: Glassdoor

Tech industry's job-opening decline

The industry leading in the reduction of job openings is tech, down 7.3%, by far the highest percentage among the industries profiled in the report. There was a singular rise in job openings, and that was, understandably, in the healthcare industry, which was up 3.2%.

Taking a closer look, the data  show how the usually resilient tech industry has been impacted.

Tech industry job openings

  • Current week: 456,482
  • Last week 497,660
  • Last month 492,212
  • Last year 424,441
  • Week over week -8.3%
  • Month over month -7.3%
  • Year over year 7.5%

How winter will affect the enterprise

Now, with the onset of winter, businesses and employees are facing new concerns, as well as challenges with regulations throughout the country tightening again. The retail and restaurant industries will be hard hit, Glassdoor said. In the warmer months, stores were able to bring out racks onto the sidewalks and parking lots and reduce the number of customers by whatever percentage their local government imposed. Zhao wrote, "These industries are likely to be among the most susceptible to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases around the country."

Restaurants could make use of their patio dining areas or, if they had none, set up new outdoor tables and seating. Some cities worked hard with business owners to come to a solution that was safe, but economically sound, too; streets were narrowed as restaurants' outdoor areas were extended.

But with the cooling, if not freezing, temperatures upon us, outdoor dining (even with patio heaters) will not be an option for many areas of the country, and those industries and the economy will suffer.

As a result, 38% of employers across the US reduced job openings in November (in October it was 33%). The Glassdoor report notes that only 30% of employers are expanding job openings, "the lowest share since May."

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Image: Glassdoor

Positives for those job searching 

The report notes two potential positives: Holiday hiring (up 34% in late-season surge, highest level since 2016) and the advent of the pending vaccines.

The largest surge in holiday job hiring is for e-commerce, with companies looking for warehouse workers, delivery drivers, and in-store shoppers, up 156%. Even though holiday job openings generally peak in October, new Glassdoor data showed percentages of new hires up through mid-November.

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