COVID & Unemployment

Jobless claims rise; job postings fall

Marielle Segarra Aug 20, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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A dealer at work at a casino in Las Vegas in June. Jobs have fallen dramatically in tourism and hospitality. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
COVID & Unemployment

Jobless claims rise; job postings fall

Marielle Segarra Aug 20, 2020
A dealer at work at a casino in Las Vegas in June. Jobs have fallen dramatically in tourism and hospitality. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Jobless claims came out today, and they are back up above 1 million for the week ending Aug. 15, after falling to a (revised) 971,000 the week before. This may be further evidence that the economic recovery is slowing or stalling. One related piece of data that doesn’t exactly bode well for that recovery: job listings are down by about 20% compared to this time last year, according to the jobs site Indeed.com.

They were down by even more in April and May but now the rebound that had started has basically come to a halt. That “suggests the possibility of a quick V-shaped recovery for the labor market continues to diminish,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed. And “that it’s increasingly looking like we’re in for a long haul when it comes to this recovery.”

Job postings have fallen dramatically in industries that you’d expect, like hospitality and tourism, but also in banking and finance and software development.

“We’re at a stage now where we’re seeing a pretty broad hit to postings,” Bunker said. “It’s not just in those sectors of the economy that are directly affected by the coronavirus.”

The numbers give us a sense of how a lot of employers are thinking right now.

“Businesses are less confident about their ability to return to economic normal, and thus, they aren’t hiring as much because they’re concerned about their ability to keep those people employed in the long term,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, which also tracks job listings.

And the numbers tell us what to expect from future unemployment numbers. Because it’s hard to find a job when you can’t find a company that’s hiring.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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