Employers cut nearly half a million job openings last week as coronavirus froze hiring nationwide

  • As of Monday, March 23, job openings declined nearly 9% on a weekly basis, according to a report released Tuesday byGlassdoor economist Daniel Zhao.

  • The decline, which accounted for about half a million jobs, was the worst one-week drop since 2016.

  • Over half of employers have reduced job openings since mid-February, with one in five pausing all job openings, according to Glassdoor data.

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to huge layoffs in the US as employers scramble to cut costs as business activity drops.

It’s also meant that companies are freezing hiring, taking thousands of jobs off the market as unemployment spikes.

As of Monday, March 23, job openings declined nearly 9% on a weekly basis, according to a report released Tuesday by Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao. The decline, which accounted for about half a million jobs, was the worst one-week drop since 2016.

The report showed that hiring for open positions is dropping off sharply just as millions of Americans are losing their jobs. In the week ending March 21, a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, with many states citing COVID-19 as a reason for mass layoffs. Economists expect the layoffs to continue en masse.

Workers now face a “tough situation” Zhao wrote Tuesday. They’re now being “squeezed on both sides by layoffs and declining hiring.”

Average monthly job openings are still up on the year, according to the report, showing that the labour market may have had a bit of an economic buffer built in before the coronavirus shock hit the US. Still, the impact of the outbreak is continuing to escalate, meaning that the labour situation will get worse before it gets better, Zhao wrote.


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Job opening declines last week were broad-based, affecting every major industry, the report said. The steepest losses in job openings were seen in consumer-service industries such as arts and entertainment, travel, and tourism.

While some industries saw job opening growth, it was not enough to offset losses. Over half of employers have reduced job openings since mid-February, with one in five pausing all job openings, according to Glassdoor data. Only 25% of employers have maintained previous hiring levels. Those that have increased hiring slipped from 37% between mid-January and mid-February to less than 25%.

“This shows how quickly the economic landscape has shifted in the last month alone,” said Zhao.

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