Labor Market Roundup: Retail Hiring, Unemployment Numbers and More

As news related to the coronavirus changes rapidly, we’re bringing you a roundup of some of the research coming out of Indeed’s Hiring Lab — the team of economists and researchers at Indeed reporting on the global labor market.

We’ll stay up to date as things continue to change and bring you the important information you need to stay informed.

Searches for Amazon, Walmart Surge Following Hiring Announcements

(March 26, Nick Bunker)

In mid March, as people across the country became increasingly homebound, the demand for groceries and home delivery of goods spiked. As a response, retail giants Amazon and Walmart made announcements that they planned on hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to keep up.

The response among job seekers on Indeed was immediate — within a day of Amazon’s March 16th hiring announcement, searches for Amazon jobs grew over 300% from their March 15 level. And in the days following Walmart’s announcement of increased hiring, searches for jobs at the company more than tripled.

Searches for jobs at Amazon and Walmart have decreased since then, but still remain much higher than prior to the crisis.

March 2020 Jobs Report: Dramatic Rise in Unemployment and Bracing for Worse

(April 3, Nick Bunker)

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a highly anticipated jobs report. This month’s report was disappointing, to say the least. Unemployment is up almost a full percentage point to 4.4%. And if we look at the prime-age employment rate (the percentage of people ages 25 to 54 who have a job) we see a quick decline there as well.

Prime-age employment rate dropped quickly

In a piece Nick wrote only days before, he cautioned that the monthly jobs report for March (released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 3) would not reflect the full effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the labor market. This is because the data collected for the jobs report is from March 9-13, back when many people were still going into the office every day, whereas now 90% of the U.S. population live under stay at home orders.

The March jobs report thus doesn’t account for the shock the U.S. job market has faced since March 13, when it finished data collection. For the week of March 15 – March 21, 3.3 million unemployment claims were filed, almost five times as many claims as the peak of 665,000 during the global economic downturn in March 2009. Then, during the week of March 22-28, unemployment claims increased even more with 6.6 million additional people filing for unemployment insurance.

The leisure and hospitality industries were hit particularly hard — almost two-thirds of the decline in employment growth came from those industries. 

According to Nick, “This report understates the pain inflicted upon the US economy. We need to brace ourselves for what future reports will show.”

Interest in Internships Tumbles 

(March 27, AnnElizabeth Konkel)

Typically, March is a peak month for internship postings as employers prepare to welcome a wave of interns into their companies for the summer. And up until early March postings for internships were on par with the previous two…

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