The New Year is the ideal time for a fresh start—and one resolution that many people typically make going into January is to find a new job.

2016 is no different. In fact, in a recent survey commissioned by Indeed, we found that over 50% of US workers are thinking of making a career change as the New Year gets underway.

Breaking the results down further, we found that 25% of respondents said that finding new work was definitely on their list for 2016, while a further 27% said the same goal was possible.

Motivations vary, but salary is a key factor for many people. In fact, 79% of respondents told us they would be looking for increased wages in 2016. By contrast, 44% said they were interested in a higher position or title. Meanwhile, for 39% a better location is a goal.

That’s a lot of people looking for new opportunities. It’s easy to start the year with good intentions, of course—but how many people are actually transforming them into action?

Job searches on Indeed surged by 43% in early January

As the biggest job site in world, Indeed is in a unique position to take a deep look at how many people are taking action to find a new job in 2016. So we looked at the data for the month of December and the first week of January to get a better understanding of the phenomenon.

In fact, we always see a surge in search at the start of the year, and January 2016 continues the tradition:

This graph shows the weekly moving average of total job search from the beginning of December to the first week of January 2012 through 2016.
This graph shows the weekly moving average of total job search (in millions) from the beginning of December to the first week of January 2012 through 2016. According to the data, all years see a drop in searches during the holiday period, but then see a rise in searches from between the last week of December and the first week of January, increasing by a total of 43%. In every year represented, there is a job search surge in January. The 2015 through 2016 season shows the steepest increase in the number of searches, increasing from around 7.5 million searches prior to the holiday to 12 million searches the first week of January.

After dropping off during the holiday period, the number of searches for a new job on Indeed quickly recovered, increasing by a total of 43% between the last week of December and the first week of January. Each year we add more jobs to Indeed and each year we see more people actively looking for new opportunities. This year, we saw a slightly steeper increase than in 2015, when the surge was 41%. Meanwhile after hitting this peak, search stays pretty constant as the business of finding a new job gets underway for the year.

The good news in 2016 is that this search is happening in a healthy hiring climate. The strong interest in job search may also benefit industries which have suffered from a talent gap, such as healthcare, transportation and information technology.

Top ten cities for job search growth in January 2016

Location also plays an important role in the hunt for a new job of course—and analysis of search can provide us with insights here, too. So we pulled the data to identify the cities in the US with the fastest growth in the number of unique job seekers in 2016.

This graph shows the top 10 cities for job seeker growth, with the percentage of year over year growth.
This graph shows the top 10 cities for job seeker growth, with the percentage of year over year growth from January 2015 through January 2016: 1) Providence with 25.0% year over year growth, 2) Detroit with 24.7% year over year growth, 3) Milwaukee with 23.7% year over year growth, 4) Oklahoma City with 23.6% year over year growth, 5) San Antonio with 22.9% year over year growth, 6) New Orleans with 22.6% year over year growth, 7) Phoenix with 21.3% year over year growth, 8) Houston with 19.5% year over year growth, 9) Buffalo with 19.2% year over year growth, 10) Cleveland with 18.9% year over year growth

In the top ten we see an interesting mix—a combination of cities which are starting to make headway after hard times such as Buffalo and Detroit, as well as cities that consistently report fast growth, such as Houston and Oklahoma City. Perhaps the most interesting result is the number one city, Providence, Rhode Island—which did not appear in the top ten at all last year.

In fact, as recently as 2014, Rhode Island had the country’s worst job market. It was also the last state in the nation to have unemployment over the 8% mark, even after other famously hard-hit states such as Michigan and Nevada had started to show job growth.

However by January 2015 the unemployment rate had dropped to 6.5%, and by the end of the year it was sitting at 5.2%, almost the same as the national rate of 5%. Providence’s place at the top of our chart indicates that confidence is growing in the Ocean State and this is good news for job seekers and employers alike.

It’s a good time for hiring

For employers, this surge in job seeker interest means that it’s a good time to post a job. Last year, the economic recovery led to increased demand from employers with job seeker interest (i.e. supply) lagging behind. This year, we may see that gap closing as job seekers catch on to the wealth of opportunities available.

As Indeed Senior Vice President Paul D’Arcy says:

“The key for successful placements in this market is for job hunters to match up with employers that can meet their needs. If you’re already employed but want a change, now is a good time not just to look for a new job, but the right job.”

And even as searches surge in January, it’s important to remember that every time of the year is good for hunting for that perfect post, or candidate.


The national survey was conducted online by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed from December 12, 2015 through January 4, 2016, and included a representative sample of 1,029 workers across industries.