03/24/2021 Nic Gustafson

Job demand is back to pre-pandemic levels

While the past year has made good news a rarity, we’re happy to say we’ve found a bright spot: job listings in the U.S. are back to pre-covid levels. (We’ll pause here for a collective ‘woo hoo!’) 

Make no mistake, with the pandemic still far from over, we remain in historic and uncharted territory. Unemployment was still at 6.2% in February, and we are in the midst of a female recession with countless women now missing from the labor force. However, when little feels familiar or certain, it is encouraging to see good news in the job listings numbers. We anticipate employment numbers will also continue to rise, as job listings are generally predictive of future hires. We saw job demand continue to rise since the pandemic crash witnessed last spring, and 2021 has largely seen that growth continue. 

When we look back at past spring data (January 1-March 1), we see job listing growth was at an impressive 7.6% in 2021—higher than the past 5 springs. The job count on March 1, 2021 was also higher than past years (except for 2020, when job listings were higher, before the crash).

Recalling seasonality patterns we’ve discussed in the past, we are expecting March growth to continue. With the exception of 2020, the month of March has seen overall increases in previous years. We’ve been monitoring the data to determine whether this March would follow the same pattern of seasonality, or whether post-pandemic growth was a stronger factor.

So we’re excitedly awaiting our month-end jobs recap to see how the rest of March plays out, but so far the news is good.

Since March 2nd, 2021, job listings have remained above the 2,853,000 job count we observed before the pandemic on March 7th, 2020. Though job listing growth has slowed down a bit in March, it is still up, and ever since March 16th the U.S. job count has been above 2,890,000. 

Next month may tell more of the story; April is a month that tends to see some variation, with decline occurring in recent years. Time will tell if this upward trend is going to continue or if we’ll return to more typical seasonal patterns as the recovery continues to unfold. 


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