Labor Demand in the Time of Covid-19: Evidence from Vacancy Postings and Ui Claims

18 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020 Last revised: 11 Jun 2022

See all articles by Lisa Kahn

Lisa Kahn

Yale School of Management

Fabian Lange

McGill University

David Wiczer

State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

We use job vacancy data collected in real time by Burning Glass Technologies, as well as unemployment insurance (UI) initial claims and the more traditional Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment data to study the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market. Our job vacancy data allow us to track the economy at disaggregated geography and by detailed occupation and industry. We find that job vacancies collapsed in the second half of March. By late April, they had fallen by over 40%. To a first approximation, this collapse was broad based, hitting all U.S. states, regardless of the timing of stay-at-home policies. UI claims and BLS employment data also largely match these patterns. Nearly all industries and occupations saw contraction in postings and spikes in UI claims, with little difference depending on whether they are deemed essential and whether they have work-from-home capability. Essential retail, the "front line" job most in-demand during the current crisis, took a much smaller hit, while leisure and hospitality services and non-essential retail saw the biggest collapses. This set of facts suggests the economic collapse was not caused solely by the stay-at-home orders, and is therefore unlikely to be undone simply by lifting them.

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Lisa and Lange, Fabian and Wiczer, David, Labor Demand in the Time of Covid-19: Evidence from Vacancy Postings and Ui Claims (April 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27061, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3586193

Lisa Kahn (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Fabian Lange

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

David Wiczer

State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook

Health Science Center
Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

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