Labor Market Trends | February 2021

Real-time Indicators from the ZipRecruiter Jobs Marketplace

All information in this article was up to date when published on 3/2/2021. The job market in the United States and around the world is changing quickly. We will update these indicators on a monthly basis. 

Overall Job Postings

Job postings surged above their pre-Covid peak in February—a sign that the recovery hiring is likely to kick back into gear in March. (Increases in job openings in one month tend to predict increases in hiring and employment levels the following month.) On any given day during February of 2021, the number of active job postings on ZipRecruiter was 15% higher than during the same month last year. 

There are several reasons for the increase in employer activity. Daily new coronavirus cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control fell by about 70% between January 13 and February 23. During the same time, the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations accelerated rapidly. Federal relief checks that had been approved in December started making their way to households and businesses. The result was a much larger than expected jump in consumer spending in January, which in turn prompted employers to start expanding capacity in February.

Job Postings by State

Job postings exceeded pre-Covid peaks by the largest margins in several states with relatively limited Covid restrictions. The states that experienced the largest employment declines during the pandemic—such as Hawaii, Alaska, and New York—have also experienced the weakest recoveries in job postings to date.

Top 5 States with the Largest Year-Over-Year Percent Increases in Job Postings

  1. West Virginia (75%)
  2. Indiana (64%)
  3. Kentucky (60%)
  4. Mississippi (59%)
  5. New Jersey (57%) 

Bottom 5 States with the Smallest Year-Over-Year Percent Increases in Job Postings

  1. Maryland (7%)
  2. New York (8%)
  3. Hawaii (11%)
  4. Alaska (12%)
  5. Colorado (13%) 

Job Postings by Industry

Ever since the pandemic began, job postings have soared in industries related to the at-home economy, such as e-commerce, tutoring, and delivery. Despite recent increases in commuting and other signs of mobility, so-called “stay-at-home” industries remain the major source of new job postings a year later. “Out-and-about” industries, such as those linked to travel and live events, remain the most depressed.

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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