Points of View

Job Demand in West Michigan is on the Rebound

Job Demand in West Michigan is on the Rebound

Alex Andrews

While it’s difficult to pinpoint which sectors will experience the fastest recovery following the coronavirus outbreak, the disparate pace of economic recovery across industries depends largely on how we transition back to the office from this extended period of remote work, and recent job posting activity can serve as a valuable tool to identify emerging pockets of growth in local economies. To help practitioners in businesses, education, workforce development, and policymakers navigate their local labor markets’ response to COVID-19 in real-time, EMSI (a leading provider of labor market analytics) released this free, publicly accessible job posting dashboard during the midst of the pandemic. Updated daily, the dashboard tracks the labor market’s response to COVID-19 as it unfolds across the United States to illustrate the evolving needs of employers, right down to the state-level.

 

National Job Trends

Job postings fell by 4 percent throughout the United States in the month of December, when compared to the volume of postings recorded during the same month in 2019, with just over 12.2 million active job ads posted across the nation in December of 2020. Twenty-three states experienced a rise in job postings from December 2019 to December 2020, led by Vermont (+29%), Rhode Island (+29%), and West Virginia (+19%), while the largest losses were observed in the states of Hawaii (-33%), Alaska (-20%), California (-16%), and Colorado (-16%). Although the observed hiring disruptions affected a wide range of sectors, two industries emerged with the largest growth in online job ads over-the-year. Information and Transportation and Warehousing both experienced a significant uptick in hiring demands, growing by 53 percent and 32 percent, respectively, from December 2019 to 2020.

1.29.21_Job Postings, US

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI) 2020.4

Although December’s volume of job advertisements dropped by 4 percent from last year’s count, the month-over-month change in job ads grew by 0.7 percent for the nation. Over half of states throughout the U.S. saw more job postings in December compared to November, while just 3 states saw an over-the-month decrease in job ads exceeding 3 percent — Montana ( -5%), Massachusetts (-4%), and Idaho (-4%). Twelve major industries experienced a spike in job advertisements over-the-month, led by Management of Companies and Enterprises (+4.8%), Construction (+3.5%), Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (+3.2%), and Manufacturing (+2.9%). Loan Officers experienced the largest increase in demand compared to any other occupation in the U.S. workforce, growing by 40.6 percent over-the-month to reach 45,561 active postings in December. However, the occupations with the largest volume of online job ads continues to be Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (1.3 million ads) and Registered Nurses (719,550 ads).

 

What Happening in West Michigan?

Online job postings in West Michigan grew by 10.5 percent over-the-year, contrasting the negative growth rate seen across the nation, with just over 46,000 active job ads posted across the region in December. Although hiring activity slowed for a small portion of West Michigan industries when compared to 2019, several occupational groups have seen a significant spike in demand since the pandemic, led by Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (+48%), Registered Nurses (+48%), First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers (+7%), and Customer Service Representatives (+6%).

1.29.21_Job Postings, WM

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI) 2020.4

Although the volume of job advertisements in West Michigan jumped by 10.5 percent from last year’s estimates, the month-over-month growth in job postings stood at 5.7 percent from November to December. This was the fourth consecutive month of positive growth in job ads for the region, and the largest over-the-month growth rate observed over the entirety of 2020. The occupations with the fastest growing demand over-the-month included Childcare Workers (+5.6%), Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (+4.3%), Light Truck Drivers (+0.9%), and Maintenance and Repair Workers, General (+0.2%). However, the occupations with the largest number of unique job postings in West Michigan remained largely unchanged, with the greatest demand for Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (5,654 ads), First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers (1,862 ads), Registered Nurses (1,814 ads), Retail Salespersons (1,583 ads), and Customer Service Representatives (1,046 ads).

 

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