Measuring the first full month of COVID-19's impact on hiring in the U.S.

Today, LinkedIn's Chief Economist, Karin Kimbrough, shared a post about the latest trends and economic impact of COVID-19 in the U.S. We’re sharing her full post here as well:  

Today, I’m sharing the April Workforce Report, the latest snapshot of what LinkedIn’s Economic Graph is telling us about the state of the U.S. labor market and a preview of what we might see in BLS’s jobs report on Friday. 

March is only the first month to truly capture the economic impact of COVID-19 in the U.S. Through April, I’m expecting we’ll continue to see a downward trend as the impact spreads from major coastal cities to other parts of the country. 

But looking at this month’s data, we already saw an immediate and significant impact on hiring. Our hiring rate in March was 1.1% lower year over year, which is the largest drop in LinkedIn’s hiring rate since January 2017. And looking at trends month-over-month, March hiring was 1.3% lower.  

Thus far, the decline in our U.S. hiring rate has not been as severe as what we've seen in Italy, France, and China which have instituted full nation-wide lockdowns. While we strongly suspect there are more challenging days ahead, there is a glimpse of hope: our hiring data in China continues to trend upward, giving us reason to believe that a hiring recovery can begin once public health restrictions start to lift.

Other trends we’ve observed over the course of the month: 

  • The hardest hit industries are, not surprisingly, those dependent on close personal contact or affected by public health closures: Recreation & Travel (-22.2% M/M SA), Wellness & Fitness (-20.9%), Nonprofit (-20.6%), Education (-18.9%), Retail (-18.6%), and Entertainment (-17.8%). We’re also seeing a significant decline in industries where purchases of bigger ticket items can be delayed: Real Estate (-19.7%), Durable consumer goods (-19.7%).
  • More resilient industries are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and are critical to supporting the rapidly-changing healthcare and infrastructure needs of the country. LinkedIn data also shows a spike in demand for workers in roles that are on the frontlines.  
  • We’re also seeing only slight dips in hiring rates across Software & IT Services (-0.8%), Public Safety (-1%), and Legal (-1.2%). This may be because many tech companies are now staffing up to support infrastructure for large remote workforces, or given the nature of the work employees can more easily work from home.  
  • The impact of the virus is also playing out differently in cities across the country. March hiring rates declined in all 20 of the cities we track, but slumped more than 10% month over month in four cities: Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. Both Detroit and New York City are in states that have seen the most intense outbreaks of the pandemic so far, and Los Angeles’s dip may reflect its prominence in the entertainment industry. 
  • We also saw six cities where hiring has not yet taken as hard of a hit. Atlanta tops the list, with a decline of just 1.6% on the month in its March hiring rate. Cleveland, Seattle, St. Louis, Denver and Dallas also saw less than 3% slippage month over month. We continue to monitor the trends across cities and industries as we suspect that unfortunately there will be more impact to come.  

You can take a closer look at your industry and city in the full report, and get a better sense for what’s happening around the country in George Anders’ latest article.