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We're Tracking This Week: Real-time Look at Hiring Behavior in the Greater MSP Region

Posted by Amanda Taylor on Friday, April 3, 2020

Each week the GREATER MSP Intelligence Team will share our latest insights on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the Greater MSP region. We’re listening, monitoring, and tracking data and insights from the global, national, and regional lens.

This week we’re monitoring how the number of active job postings are changing in the region.  Thanks to our data partner Emsi, GREATER MSP is able to track active job posting behavior in real-time with the intent to understand the shifting labor demand of employers during this unprecedented time. We’re also examining how hiring behavior in the Greater MSP region compares to the nation and our peer regions. Tracking job posting data gives us a glimpse into labor demand trends in a way that we’ve never been able to do before. Without having to wait for government surveys, we’re able to glean insights into what types of jobs are increasing and decreasing in demand through this COVID-19 economic crisis.   

The region is experiencing a shift in hiring behavior.

The Greater MSP region began the month of March 7.5% below 2019 active job posting levels and we are ending the month at 29.3% below 2019 levels. It has been a steady and significant decline in job posting activity over the month.

Postings are declining at a rate faster than nearly all of our peers.

Our drop in active postings through March is striking, particularly when compared to our peer regions. We picked the most recent day of job postings data, March 30th, to examine change from 2020 to 2019 for our peer regions and found that the Greater MSP region experienced the second-highest drop in active postings, after Pittsburgh.

Comparing job postings from a year ago allows us to control for factors like seasonality that might influence posting behavior and provides a look at how current economic conditions are affecting postings. The drop experienced in March gives us an indication that employers in the region are preparing to slow hiring. A drop in hiring demand is not surprising given the current economic climate, but we will want to continue to track trends to watch for emerging vulnerabilities by company, industry, and occupation.

Job posting behavior in the region varies considerably by occupation.

We also looked at short-term trends in posting behavior, the change in the number of postings for the previous 30-day period (February) to the latest 30-day period (March). For this time period, we looked at the occupations that experienced the biggest shift in posting behavior.

Declining posting behavior for jobs in food, entertainment, and education not surprising.

Occupations with the largest drop in active job postings were food processing workers (-31.1%), entertainers and performers (-26.8%), and other education, training, and library occupations (-26.4%).  This drop was consistent across many of our peer regions and the U.S. as a whole. Occupations with the largest increase in job postings include media and communication workers (+16.7%), media and communication equipment workers (+15.4%), and construction trade workers (+1.2%). These are occupations that have grown despite the current economic climate.

Tracking job posting behavior is a new way for us to derive insights into the shifting labor demand in the region and we’ll continue to follow along as the crisis and recovery phases of COVID-19 play out.