As news related to the coronavirus changes rapidly, we’re bringing you a roundup of some of the research coming out of Indeed’s Hiring Lab — the team of economists and researchers at Indeed reporting on the global labor market.

We’ll stay up to date as things continue to change and bring you the important information you need to stay informed.

Searches for Amazon, Walmart surge following hiring announcements

(March 26, Nick Bunker)

In mid March, as people across the country became increasingly homebound, the demand for groceries and home delivery of goods spiked. As a response, retail giants Amazon and Walmart made announcements that they planned on hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to keep up.

The response among job seekers on Indeed was immediate — within a day of Amazon’s March 16th hiring announcement, searches for Amazon jobs grew over 300% from their March 15 level. And in the days following Walmart’s announcement of increased hiring, searches for jobs at the company more than tripled.

Searches for jobs at Amazon and Walmart have decreased since then, but still remain much higher than prior to the crisis.

A line graph that shows a spike in interest in jobs at Amazon and Walmart.
This line graph shows a large spike in job searches on Indeed for roles at Amazon and Walmart after the companies announced increases in new jobs and bonus offers.

March 2020 Jobs Report: Dramatic rise in unemployment and bracing for worse

(April 3, Nick Bunker)

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a highly anticipated jobs report. This month’s report was disappointing, to say the least. Unemployment is up almost a full percentage point to 4.4%. And if we look at the prime-age employment rate (the percentage of people ages 25 to 54 who have a job) we see a quick decline there as well.

A line graph showing the prime-age employment rate on the decline.
This line graph shows the share of workers aged 25 to 54 who are employed, spanning from 2000 to 2020. The graph shows a huge decline in 2010, with slow upward growth since.

In a piece Nick wrote only days before, he cautioned that the monthly jobs report for March (released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 3) would not reflect the full effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the labor market. This is because the data collected for the jobs report is from March 9-13, back when many people were still going into the office every day, whereas now 90% of the U.S. population live under stay at home orders.

The March jobs report thus doesn’t account for the shock the U.S. job market has faced since March 13, when it finished data collection. For the week of March 15 – March 21, 3.3 million unemployment claims were filed, almost five times as many claims as the peak of 665,000 during the global economic downturn in March 2009. Then, during the week of March 22-28, unemployment claims increased even more with 6.6 million additional people filing for unemployment insurance.

The leisure and hospitality industries were hit particularly hard — almost two-thirds of the decline in employment growth came from those industries. 

According to Nick, “This report understates the pain inflicted upon the US economy. We need to brace ourselves for what future reports will show.”

Interest in internships tumbles 

(March 27, AnnElizabeth Konkel)

Typically, March is a peak month for internship postings as employers prepare to welcome a wave of interns into their companies for the summer. And up until early March postings for internships were on par with the previous two years. However, starting the second week of March, postings on Indeed started to decrease, dropping 18% between March 6 and March 31.

A line graph showing a drop in internship job postings since March 2020.
This graph shows internship job postings, comparing 2018, 2019, and 2020, with a decline starting in late-March 2020.

Job seeker behavior has been similar — as life for many college students changed drastically in March, so did their searches. Moving back home with parents and taking online classes became the new normal and by March 31st, clicks on internship postings decreased by 23% from the previous year, likely due to the uncertainty of what the summer will hold.

A line graph showing a decrease in clicks on internship job postings.
This graph shows clicks on internship job postings decreasing since March 2020 when COVID-19 began.

That’s it for this week — stay safe, and we’ll be back soon with more updates on the situation as it evolves.