October Job Market Report: Job Openings Still Down 10% Heading into Election


November 3, 2020

Key Findings

  • The recovery progressed in October, with job openings rising 3.3 percent month-over-month to 5.44 million, which is a welcome rebound from near-stagnant growth in September. However, job openings remain 10.1 percent below pre-crisis levels, indicating a tough slog still ahead.
  • October marks the peak of the holiday hiring season for retail job openings (+2.1 percent month-over-month). Similarly, trade & transportation (+14.6 percent) is surging due to increased consumer and employer demand in e-commerce.
  • Key election battleground states in the Midwest and Sunbelt have almost universally seen job openings grow in the month before the election. The economic picture over the course of the crisis is more mixed, with closely contested states like Texas (-15.8 percent) and Pennsylvania (-16.0 percent) falling short of the national average.

Between the election and this Friday’s October jobs report release, the first week of November is packed with news set to shape how we see the political and economic landscape of the U.S. in 2020 and beyond. Despite signs in September of a slowing recovery and uncertainty amid surging COVID-19 cases, Glassdoor data shows that the labor market made steady progress in October.

Glassdoor’s latest Job Market Report shows 5.44 million job openings are available across the U.S., a solid 3.3 percent increase month-over-month. The 3.3 percent increase in October beats out the near-stagnant 0.7 percent growth in September, but falls short of the 5–7 percent growth seen from June through August.

Job openings are still over 600,000 short of pre-crisis levels, indicating continuing softness in labor demand. However, demand for workers is bouncing back faster than during the Great Recession, as we’ve seen over a million job openings added since demand bottomed out in May. As U.S. citizens head to the polls to decide who will take the helm of the economic recovery in the coming four years, economic indicators show that, while a long slog remains ahead, the labor market is on an upward trajectory.

Based on an analysis of employer job posting behavior on Glassdoor, 34 percent of employers reduced or paused all job openings in October, an improvement from 38 percent in September. While a larger share of employers are reducing job openings, these reductions are being offset by the faster expansion of demand for workers.

Change in Job Openings by Industry

  • Retail job openings increased 2.1 percent month-over-month as the holiday retail hiring season continues. October is generally the peak in holiday job openings, and while Glassdoor data does show the normal holiday surge, the pandemic is still suppressing retailers’ demand for seasonal workers below last year’s levels.
  • Trade & transportation job openings surged 14.6 percent as businesses prepare for the shift in holiday spending to e-commerce. The rise of e-commerce is driving demand for transportation & warehousing workers as well as a similar increase in interest from workers themselves who may be looking for seasonal jobs that require less direct exposure to customers.
  • Education (-8.1 percent month-over-month) and government (-2.8 percent) job openings have dropped recently as state and local budgets are squeezed by the pandemic. If stalled Congressional negotiations prevent further federal aid for state and local governments, we may see more declines in hiring for these public sector roles.
  • Food services (+2.6 percent month-over-month) job openings have continued to rise, not yet showing the impact of colder weather and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases around the country.

Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Industry Group Month-over-Month % Change
U.S. Total 3.3%
Business Services -0.2%
Construction & Real Estate Services -1.4%
Consumer Services 6.4%
Finance & Insurance 3.7%
Food Services 2.6%
Health Care 1.2%
Manufacturing & Production 1.5%
Public Services -4.6%
Retail 2.1%
Tech -2.0%
Trade & Transportation 14.6%

Note: Data as of October 26, 2020

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, November 3, 2020

For more detailed data on job openings trends by industry and industry group, see our appendix below.

Job Openings Rising But Still Weak in Many Battleground States

With the election underway, Glassdoor data shows how job openings have trended amid the pandemic in key election states. Among critical Midwest and Sunbelt states, job openings have increased universally over the last month; however, the picture over the duration of the crisis is more mixed.

In the Midwest, Pennsylvania and Minnesota have performed significantly worse than the national average, with job openings still down double digits. By contrast, job openings in Wisconsin have surged and are nearing pre-crisis levels, while job openings in Michigan have actually fully recovered and are now up 1.8 percent above pre-crisis levels, driven largely by surges in pandemic-related hiring in e-commerce and health care.

In the Sunbelt, labor market performance has been more concentrated around the national average. Georgia and Arizona have seen job openings recover faster than the national average. Texas, now potentially a battleground state after years of being solidly Republican, is still 15.8 percent below pre-crisis levels, a sign that economic sluggishness may be contributing to the closeness of the election. The declines in Texas are broad-based but include large declines in politically sensitive industries like energy & utilities (-45.6 percent) and manufacturing (-22.4 percent).

Job Opening Trends in Key Election States

Region State Month-over-Month % Change % Change vs. Pre-Crisis Level
U.S. Total U.S. Total 3.3% -10.1%
Midwest Michigan 3.9% 1.8%
Minnesota 6.0% -14.3%
Pennsylvania 1.8% -16.0%
Wisconsin 5.4% -3.9%
Sunbelt Arizona 0.7% -7.2%
Florida 6.6% -11.3%
Georgia 6.1% -4.3%
Texas 3.9% -15.8%

Source: Glassdoor Job Market Report, November 3, 2020

For more detailed data on job openings trends by state and for select metropolitan areas, see our appendix below.

Conclusion

Glassdoor data indicates that the recovery continued in October, mitigating concerns of a drastic slowdown from September. While signs point to continued economic progress, the trajectory is far from certain. November promises to be a particularly consequential month for the economy between the election, ongoing recovery and surging COVID-19 cases around the country. 

Methodology

The job openings data for the selected dates is generated based on the methodology used in Glassdoor’s monthly Job Market Report, which provides a real-time view of hiring trends and wage growth across the U.S. based on millions of online jobs and salaries on Glassdoor. The data represents a snapshot of the number of job openings available on Glassdoor on the highlighted dates. Generally, “pre-crisis” refers to the level on March 16, 2020, the peak in job openings immediately prior to the beginning of the crisis.

Week-over-week, month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons are based on the Mondays from the comparable period. Except where otherwise noted, no additional smoothing, averaging or seasonal adjustment for job openings data is performed. Because no smoothing or averaging takes place, the data may not be directly comparable to Glassdoor’s monthly Job Market Report.

Appendix

Each table may not sum up to total. For example, industry data may be missing for some employers.

Table A: Change in Job Openings by Industry

Job Openings Percent Change
Oct 26, 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Oct 28, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,437,352 5,419,359 5,263,045 5,884,222 0.3% 3.3% -7.6%
Accounting & Legal 37,668 36,389 36,691 54,944 3.5% 2.7% -31.4%
Aerospace & Defense 58,238 59,465 61,462 93,308 -2.1% -5.2% -37.6%
Architecture & Civil Engineering 27,880 27,558 27,257 46,479 1.2% 2.3% -40.0%
Arts & Entertainment 30,495 30,742 28,413 52,577 -0.8% 7.3% -42.0%
Automotive 91,931 90,470 89,169 101,475 1.6% 3.1% -9.4%
Banking & Financial Services 107,965 107,457 102,142 137,173 0.5% 5.7% -21.3%
Beauty & Fitness 60,771 60,744 59,713 85,052 0.0% 1.8% -28.5%
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals 73,498 73,767 72,687 75,885 -0.4% 1.1% -3.1%
Business Services 8,322 8,280 8,878 12,627 0.5% -6.3% -34.1%
Computer Software & Hardware 136,529 135,140 128,356 155,453 1.0% 6.4% -12.2%
Construction 56,943 57,622 57,604 74,404 -1.2% -1.1% -23.5%
Consulting 58,440 58,490 57,986 79,202 -0.1% 0.8% -26.2%
Consumer Electronics 12,261 12,096 14,315 14,219 1.4% -14.3% -13.8%
Consumer Services 27,417 31,951 18,220 19,073 -14.2% 50.5% 43.7%
Education & Schools 145,392 145,181 158,170 215,130 0.1% -8.1% -32.4%
Energy & Utilities 35,741 35,569 35,689 49,864 0.5% 0.1% -28.3%
Facilities 46,561 47,640 47,810 44,851 -2.3% -2.6% 3.8%
Farming & Agriculture 9,324 9,574 9,405 10,575 -2.6% -0.9% -11.8%
Government 122,070 122,389 125,560 122,899 -0.3% -2.8% -0.7%
Health Care & Hospitals 849,105 867,433 839,016 820,371 -2.1% 1.2% 3.5%
Information Technology 115,812 115,677 124,358 177,908 0.1% -6.9% -34.9%
Insurance 67,734 66,578 67,348 75,187 1.7% 0.6% -9.9%
Internet & Tech 229,580 156,227 239,243 88,435 47.0% -4.0% 159.6%
Manufacturing 202,089 201,356 194,555 234,151 0.4% 3.9% -13.7%
Marketing & Advertising 69,929 71,699 68,689 59,109 -2.5% 1.8% 18.3%
Media & Publishing 14,077 13,789 13,630 25,493 2.1% 3.3% -44.8%
Nonprofit 59,034 58,949 58,599 75,420 0.1% 0.7% -21.7%
Private Security 22,478 23,049 24,980 22,762 -2.5% -10.0% -1.2%
Real Estate 45,566 46,676 46,821 49,510 -2.4% -2.7% -8.0%
Restaurants & Bars 486,543 486,739 474,079 543,967 0.0% 2.6% -10.6%
Retail 422,241 420,641 407,056 520,015 0.4% 3.7% -18.8%
Supermarkets 98,766 100,772 101,137 96,340 -2.0% -2.3% 2.5%
Telecommunications 29,620 29,457 28,786 40,396 0.6% 2.9% -26.7%
Transportation & Logistics 262,456 285,406 225,890 261,450 -8.0% 16.2% 0.4%
Travel & Tourism 42,987 42,684 41,447 89,619 0.7% 3.7% -52.0%

Table B: Change in Job Openings by Industry Group

Job Openings Percent Change
Oct 26, 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Oct 28, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,437,352 5,419,359 5,263,045 5,884,222 0.3% 3.3% -7.6%
Business Services 196,837 197,907 197,224 228,644 -0.5% -0.2% -13.9%
Construction & Real Estate Services 176,950 179,496 179,492 215,244 -1.4% -1.4% -17.8%
Consumer Services 297,298 299,837 279,378 413,685 -0.8% 6.4% -28.1%
Finance & Insurance 175,699 174,035 169,490 212,360 1.0% 3.7% -17.3%
Food Services 486,543 486,739 474,079 543,967 0.0% 2.6% -10.6%
Health Care 922,603 941,200 911,703 896,256 -2.0% 1.2% 2.9%
Production 305,392 305,964 301,111 387,898 -0.2% 1.4% -21.3%
Public Services 326,496 326,519 342,329 413,449 0.0% -4.6% -21.0%
Retail 533,268 533,509 522,508 630,574 0.0% 2.1% -15.4%
Tech 481,921 407,044 491,957 421,796 18.4% -2.0% 14.3%
Trade & Transportation 289,384 312,327 252,432 290,810 -7.3% 14.6% -0.5%

Table C: Change in Job Openings by State

Job Openings Percent Change
Oct 26, 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Oct 28, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,437,352 5,419,359 5,263,045 5,884,222 0.3% 3.3% -7.6%
Remote 26,016 25,387 23,620 10,094 2.5% 10.1% 157.7%
AK 10,793 10,803 10,835 11,479 -0.1% -0.4% -6.0%
AL 71,997 72,406 73,288 73,094 -0.6% -1.8% -1.5%
AR 43,794 43,623 41,946 39,595 0.4% 4.4% 10.6%
AZ 113,974 111,881 113,181 115,945 1.9% 0.7% -1.7%
CA 547,159 537,468 538,876 655,621 1.8% 1.5% -16.5%
CO 106,053 106,561 103,522 129,710 -0.5% 2.4% -18.2%
CT 58,846 59,283 58,914 69,565 -0.7% -0.1% -15.4%
DC 31,986 32,083 32,411 44,937 -0.3% -1.3% -28.8%
DE 17,479 17,560 17,933 19,638 -0.5% -2.5% -11.0%
FL 295,595 305,329 277,405 315,958 -3.2% 6.6% -6.4%
GA 179,890 178,433 169,566 187,564 0.8% 6.1% -4.1%
HI 12,475 12,548 12,591 18,879 -0.6% -0.9% -33.9%
IA 59,411 57,463 57,812 57,662 3.4% 2.8% 3.0%
ID 25,447 24,257 23,113 23,061 4.9% 10.1% 10.3%
IL 230,311 239,121 207,686 249,616 -3.7% 10.9% -7.7%
IN 116,286 119,634 112,798 118,309 -2.8% 3.1% -1.7%
KS 55,238 59,301 49,409 54,500 -6.9% 11.8% 1.4%
KY 76,460 76,128 73,992 71,871 0.4% 3.3% 6.4%
LA 59,176 59,268 59,014 63,664 -0.2% 0.3% -7.0%
MA 187,898 170,680 192,097 187,924 10.1% -2.2% 0.0%
MD 127,758 125,578 128,514 131,918 1.7% -0.6% -3.2%
ME 30,109 29,880 28,375 26,090 0.8% 6.1% 15.4%
MI 158,239 157,910 152,288 156,104 0.2% 3.9% 1.4%
MN 98,789 96,519 93,226 113,234 2.4% 6.0% -12.8%
MO 102,845 106,080 99,084 111,267 -3.0% 3.8% -7.6%
MS 39,630 39,151 39,113 37,839 1.2% 1.3% 4.7%
MT 17,256 16,554 15,914 17,401 4.2% 8.4% -0.8%
NC 182,639 179,960 176,983 194,939 1.5% 3.2% -6.3%
ND 15,342 15,350 15,308 15,546 -0.1% 0.2% -1.3%
NE 36,637 36,250 36,839 33,011 1.1% -0.5% 11.0%
NH 31,663 32,669 34,975 31,793 -3.1% -9.5% -0.4%
NJ 135,421 143,794 133,988 156,332 -5.8% 1.1% -13.4%
NM 38,228 37,504 36,297 39,427 1.9% 5.3% -3.0%
NV 42,343 41,558 39,956 48,996 1.9% 6.0% -13.6%
NY 246,251 245,291 238,325 302,611 0.4% 3.3% -18.6%
OH 189,626 189,684 190,749 209,079 0.0% -0.6% -9.3%
OK 53,700 53,211 51,709 59,658 0.9% 3.9% -10.0%
OR 63,968 63,730 61,444 71,513 0.4% 4.1% -10.6%
PA 240,188 240,497 235,979 248,023 -0.1% 1.8% -3.2%
RI 18,866 18,668 19,840 20,419 1.1% -4.9% -7.6%
SC 86,652 86,631 84,646 88,104 0.0% 2.4% -1.6%
SD 17,330 17,189 16,524 16,715 0.8% 4.9% 3.7%
TN 120,728 122,260 119,255 122,899 -1.3% 1.2% -1.8%
TX 408,616 429,009 393,449 456,200 -4.8% 3.9% -10.4%
UT 49,809 49,875 46,596 54,040 -0.1% 6.9% -7.8%
VA 179,747 178,817 175,880 194,410 0.5% 2.2% -7.5%
VT 12,137 12,333 12,425 14,217 -1.6% -2.3% -14.6%
WA 161,607 136,430 138,227 152,053 18.5% 16.9% 6.3%
WI 110,915 105,303 105,185 111,309 5.3% 5.4% -0.4%
WV 32,597 32,132 32,234 35,763 1.4% 1.1% -8.9%
WY 11,049 10,801 10,535 11,696 2.3% 4.9% -5.5%

Table D: Change in Job Openings for Select Metropolitan Areas

Job Openings Percent Change
Oct 26, 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Oct 28, 2019
Category Current Week Last Week Last Month Last Year Week-over-Week Month-over-Month Year-over-Year
Total 5,437,352 5,419,359 5,263,045 5,884,222 0.3% 3.3% -7.6%
Atlanta, GA 107,529 106,570 100,282 117,182 0.9% 7.2% -8.2%
Boston, MA 149,465 132,373 153,124 152,180 12.9% -2.4% -1.8%
Chicago, IL 181,331 180,773 165,693 199,417 0.3% 9.4% -9.1%
Houston, TX 76,697 85,847 76,826 95,370 -10.7% -0.2% -19.6%
Los Angeles, CA 168,371 168,916 163,077 214,255 -0.3% 3.2% -21.4%
New York City, NY 249,829 256,683 243,630 311,206 -2.7% 2.5% -19.7%
Philadelphia, PA 110,493 111,573 108,702 112,719 -1.0% 1.6% -2.0%
San Francisco, CA 114,238 107,112 117,353 146,411 6.7% -2.7% -22.0%
Seattle, WA 117,805 97,141 98,256 112,967 21.3% 19.9% 4.3%
Washington, DC 153,807 153,112 148,811 185,822 0.5% 3.4% -17.2%