Jobseeker and Hiring Trends in the COVID Era

We went from record-low unemployment numbers to record-high unemployment numbers in a matter of weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to this drastic change in the employment landscape, talent acquisition professionals should stay up to date on the latest trends in order to understand the “modern” jobseeker.


In early May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its April jobs report, and according to the BLS, total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. Last week, the BLS released its May jobs report, and there was a slight improvement in this area.


According to the BLS, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3%. However, upon a deeper dive into the data, the BLS acknowledges that there was a misclassification error that could cause the unemployment rate to actually increase not decrease—meaning the unemployment rate would be about 16.3% for May.


As businesses begin to reopen and employers start to bring back furloughed or laid-off workers it should come as no surprise that these numbers are starting to improve. Here are some additional trends to keep in mind when recruiting talent back into your organization.

Job Search Trends

Throughout the month of May, career portal uncovered key trends its platform saw from jobseekers; these findings are highlighted below:


Throughout the week of May 4 through May 10, Monster’s website saw both businesses and employees were ready to go back to work.

  • There was an uptick in demand for technical and business operations roles, with software developers, network, and computer systems administrators ranking alongside business operations specialists, financial managers, and management analysis in the top jobs posted to Monster. Monster speculates that this shift could be a sign that more businesses were preparing for the next stages of reopening the economy—something that came to fruition for some states at the end of May and early June.
  • Some highly skilled gig and remote jobs are seeing an increase in searches, with “graphic designer” and “UI developer” growing in search frequency during this time frame. Similarly, Monster saw a rise in searches for summer jobs and internships—a continued indication that the class of 2020 is in the jobs market.


Throughout the week of May 11 through May 17, Monster found that the reopening economy continued to influence candidates’ job search.

  • With the majority of the country reopening, the retail industry saw a spike in job searches—its highest level in the past 8 weeks—and part-time jobs saw a large week-over-week spike.
  • Business continuity was also leading to new jobs. Indicating a persistent effort to edge toward the new normal, business and financial operations, which include a wide variety of occupations like insurance appraisers, budget analysts, management analysts, accountants and auditors, and logisticians, continues to be one of the industries with the most new jobs on Monster. Specifically, business operations specialists and market research analysts ranked high among new job postings.
  • “Work from home” increased the most of any keyword and is once again the top searched keyword—in line with candidate sentiment of cautiousness regarding returning to work outside the home.
  • Food service searches are picking up, with increases in bartender, dishwasher, restaurant, food partner, line cook, food services, chef, executive chef, and sous chef. These searches align with states’ reopening announcements, resulting in restaurants’ beginning to open in some parts of the country.

Additional Data

While unemployment may be at an all-time high, there are still certain industries that are hiring workers. These industries have been deemed “essential,” and much like Monster’s research, these same industries have had an increased demand for hiring top talent. According to DailyPay, a platform that allows workers to access their paychecks before payday, throughout May, there was double-digit growth in the number of workers hired in certain industries.


During the 3-week period from May 11 to May 31, hiring increased in the hospitality (+15%), healthcare (+19%), quick-service restaurant (QSR) (+20%), supermarket (+23%), and caregiver industries (+24%). Additionally, DailyPay reports a 15% increase in the hiring of consumer services professionals, as well.


“The need to rehire brings forth a new set of challenges,” says Alexey Nefedov for DailyPay. “Companies are faced with ensuring that employee safety, trust and restaffing are accomplished in smart and economical ways.”


Health and safety have been on the top of everyone’s mind since the pandemic hit, and as businesses continue to open back up, these two areas will dominate the new way of working.

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