Our nation’s infrastructure is set to get a massive funding boost courtesy of the Federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act and bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In their new report entitled Hard-to-Fill Infrastructure Jobs: A Challenge to Building Our Future the National League of Cities explores the labor market’s readiness for the influx of infrastructure jobs that will be created by these new funding streams. An infrastructure job is one in which the work required is related to the design, construction or maintenance of infrastructure
This past May, following a disappointing jobs report for April, we posited that the job market was not afflicted with a labor shortage but rather a wage shortage. In subsequent months, we expanded our argument by laying out the case that the job market was suffering from a massive bid-ask spread between employers and employees. Health risks and economic devastation from COVID were obviously the primary contributors to illiquidity in the job market, but beyond those first-level factors, the pandemic incited what we called in June’s post a ‘stealth revolution.’
Apples to apples? In this market, it might make more sense to compare Apples to unicorns. Currently, that exchange rate is right around 1 to every 800. There are now more than [800 “unicorns](https://www.cbinsights.com/research-unicorn-companies?utm_source=chartr)” or private startup companies worth more than $1 billion (like Stripe, SpaceX, Reddit, Instacart, Warby Parker, and Discord to name just a few). Combine those 800 with yet another 800 super promising companies and you wind up with a total combined valuation of $2.6 trillion. A staggering figure that, remarkably, is almost equal to what the world’s most valuable company
Another day, another Amazon headline. The world’s largest online retailer is making new again, this time with their recently announced plans to hire more than 125,000 warehouse and transportation workers. Delving into our data we can see a 13% increase in production occupations. While this number was not even close to the 125,000 roles they plan to increase, it does tell us they are definitely increasing hiring. We would anticipate more listings for production occupations will likely be posted in the future.
It appears we’re closing the summer on a hot streak as overall job listings continued to rise in August for the 6th month in a row. While the trajectory is positive, the pace of growth continues to slow with August non-farm payroll numbers missing estimates and another increase in the number of jobs deleted in our database. This could be a sign of a broader slow-down, but we would anticipate hiring will accelerate ahead of the holiday season.
We’ll post updated charts later this week when we get our data for August, but we wanted to post the two charts below that show total (below) and new job openings (bottom) in goods and services industries between January 2020 and July 2021. As the first chart below for total job openings shows, between May and November last year, labor demand in services industries rose faster immediately following the decimation of Q2 ’21 than goods-producing industries.
The healthcare industry remains in the spotlight, where it has been firmly planted since the pandemic began. Now with the rapid evolution of Delta and the new wave of cases that have come with it, we see story after story of continued pressure placed on the sector. Workers on the front lines are battling burnout during a wave of the pandemic that is, by and large,most gravely impacting the unvaccinated. Meanwhile, stories emerge almost daily about hospital systems in COVID hotspots on the brink of collapse.
Temperatures weren’t the only thing rising in July, as sky high summer heat was accompanied by increasing job listings, with the month up 4.6%. This follows the slowdown observed in June where listings dipped by almost 1%. Reflecting on job demand changes overall, it is noteworthy that over the last year, only two months have seen a decline in listings, and growth continues.
In our Non-farm Payroll forecast earlier this month, we highlighted the yawning chasm of the bid-ask spread between employers and employees these days and touched on some of the structural mechanics of the job market in the context of how efficient or inefficient the job market is (typically), how COVID has obliterated any normalcy that might have previously existed in the job market, and what we expect to see in the coming months.
Looking back at the month of June, we see growth has slowed and the labor market appears to be leveling off. The month brought the first signs that the job market is cooling down. It’s not quite a summer slump, but maybe, just maybe, this slowdown signifies things could be (dare we say it?!?) returning to “normal.” While more than half of industries saw decline, several did see strong job growth last month. Topping the list are Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (+7.3%), Finance and Insurance (+6.8%), Information (+5.4%), and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (+6.8%).
Wage inflation has been a hot topic of late, with many employers saying that they are having to raise compensation to attract workers. This is an area that touches every corner of the economy as labor is a key input in almost every industry. Even the Federal Reserve is starting to take note, last week indicating via its “dot plot” a median estimate of two rate hikes before the end of 2023. Since a dovish Fed has been a central thesis of bullish equity markets, investors will continue to pay close attention to wages.
Recently, Consumer Discretionary (CD) has been an interesting sector to analyze. Due to its non-essential nature, COVID’s impact on the sector cannot be denied. However, as it looks like we are turning a corner on the pandemic, CD seems to be undergoing shifts that make it worth taking a closer look. We can see from the S&P 500 index that Consumer Discretionary took a significant hit right after the onset of COVID, as one might expect. But since then CD has had a strong recovery.
Crypto has been dominating headlines lately, from Dogecoin to Bitcoin the digital asset has become THE hot topic for news and media outlets. It’s not just media outlets that have latched on to the crypto craze, large institutions are also starting to explore the possibilities of this technology. Naturally we were curious as well, so in this post we use Linkup’s Raw dataset to take a look at who has job listings in this area.
We’ve got a spring in our step after yet another month of growth. Following the 11% increase in active job listings we saw in March, and our return to pre-pandemic job levels, April’s active job listings were up a solid 4%.
When little else is certain, there is always coffee. The beverage remains the undisputed favorite in the U.S., with Americans consuming 400 million cups per day. But believe it or not, fewer people drank coffee in the United States during the pandemic compared to levels seen before it, according to a survey by the National Coffee Association (NCA).
While it’s extraordinarily positive and extremely encouraging to be so firmly entrenched in economic recovery mode, there’s a strange sense of deja-vu that we’ve returned to a very similar place circa 2011/2012 with everyone trying to read tea-leaves and goat entrails to discern where the job market is and what the pace of job gains will be in the coming months.
Materials for the early new mRNA vaccines are becoming harder to get, and they are hard to manufacture and store. But there’s another vaccine on the horizon that could solve some of those problems, and keep vaccination efforts moving. A vaccine created by Maryland-based biotech company, Novavax, showed 89.3% efficacy in a Phase III UK trial with 15,000 participants. The company is anticipating receiving emergency-use authorization from the FDA in May, and is set to expand vaccine trials in Q2 to include children and teens, and to begin crossover trials that will ensure all participants, including U.S. study participants, receive an active vaccine candidate.
Stripe has soared past SpaceX and pushed past Instacart to become the most valuable startup in the country. Earlier in the month, the company announced a new $600 million round of funding that included investors like Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency and puts Stripes current valuation at $95 billion. For those keeping track, the figure has nearly tripled since Stripe’s previous valuation of $36 billion last year. With this most recent round of funding Stripe, which builds software that allows businesses to process payments online, has become the most valuable private company to come out of Silicon Valley–and it’s little wonder why.
Given the positive news of late and the broader trends around the pandemic, it’s tempting to start this post by noting that things seem to be slowly but surely starting to return to normal. But of course, that’s an entirely absurd notion. I’m not sure normal is still a thing. And in any event, the world is just about as bat-shit crazy as ever and the best that can be said is that maybe, just maybe, we’ve let up ever so slightly on the accelerator as we barrel down the highway toward the cliff of irreversible insanity. There’s a decent chance, in fact, that we drove off that cliff years ago and still have no idea.
While the past year has made good news a rarity, we’re happy to say we’ve found a bright spot: job listings in the U.S. are back to pre-covid levels. (We’ll pause here for a collective ‘woo hoo!’). Make no mistake, with the pandemic still far from over, we remain in historic and uncharted territory. Unemployment was still at 6.2% in February, and we are in the midst of a female recession with countless women now missing from the labor force. However, when little feels familiar or certain, it is encouraging to see good news in the job listings numbers. We anticipate employment numbers will also continue to rise, as job listings are generally predictive of future hires. We saw job demand continue to rise since the pandemic crash witnessed last spring, and 2021 has largely seen that growth continue.