Points of View

March Job Trends, West Michigan

March Job Trends, West Michigan

Alex Andrews

National Job Trends

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 from stay-at-home to go-back-to-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 this week. 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.

 

Active Job Advertisements, United StatesNational Job Ad Trends, March

Job postings fell by 15 percent throughout the United States in the month of March, when compared to the volume of postings recorded over the same month in 2019, with over 11.5 million active job ads posted across the nation in March 2020. Just two states experienced a rise in job postings from March 2019 to March 2020, Idaho (+3%) and Alaska (+20%), while the largest losses were observed in the states of West Virginia (-38%), Montana (-30%), Iowa (-25%), and Wisconsin (-25%). Although the observed hiring disruptions occurred in nearly every sector of the U.S. economy last month, two industries emerged with a larger share of ads in March of this year when compared to last. Hospitals and General Merchandise Stores both experienced growth in hiring demands, at 4 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Rising demand among Hospitals and Health Care occupations should come as no surprise, considering public health concerns, but what is surprising is the rising demand for retail occupations across all skill levels, including: Retail Salespersons, First-line Supervisors, and Stock Clerks and Order Fillers.

 

Although March’s volume of job advertisements dropped by 15 percent from last year’s count, the month-over-month decrease in job ads (from February to March 2020) was just 0.5 percent for the nation. Over half of states throughout the U.S. saw more job postings in March compared to February, while just 3 states saw an over-the-month decrease in job ads exceeding 3 percent — Minnesota ( -5%), New Jersey (-4%), and Wisconsin (-4%). In terms of national posting trends, just four industries experienced a spike in job advertisements over-the-month, including: Administrative and Support Services (+2%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (+0.6%), Ambulatory Health Care Services (+0.9%), and Insurance Carriers and Related Activities (+4%). Registered Nurses experienced the largest increase in demand compared to any other occupation in the U.S. workforce, growing by 8 percent over-the-month to reach 561,166 active postings in March. The observed spike in demand for Registered Nurses was closely trailed by increasing demand for Stock Clerks and Order Fillers (+6%), Marketing Managers (+5%), and Computer Occupations (+1%).

 

What Happening in West Michigan?

In West Michigan, job postings dropped by 19 percent over-the-year (from March 2019 to March 2020) with just over 44,000 active job ads posted across the region last month. Although March’s hiring activity slowed for the majority of West Michigan industries, several occupational groups have seen a spike in demand from the levels in March of last year, including: Personal Care and Service Occupations (+49%), Legal Occupations (+40%), Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations (+29%), and Management Occupations (+13%).

 

Active Job Advertisements, West MichiganWM Job Ad Trends, March

While the volume of job advertisements in West Michigan dropped by 19 percent from last year’s estimates, the month-over-month decline in job postings (from February to March 2020) stood at 1.1 percent for the region. Attrition in job postings was observed across nearly all occupations, though high-growth areas were found among jobs in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (+16.5%), Protective Service (+4.9%), and Computer and Mathematical (+4.7%) — reaching a combined total of 3,262 active job postings. The proportional increase in job postings for Media and Communication Workers over-the-month led the spike in advertisements among these occupational groups, growing at a rate of 59.5 percent to reach over 300 active postings last month. However, the largest share of advertisements were attributed to over 10,500 postings for workers among Health Care Occupations and Computer and Mathematical Occupations.

 

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