COVID-19 Analysis: Impact on the U.S. Labor Market  

Monday, March 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic continues to jolt the U.S. labor market: Workforce Logiq’s predictive worker volatility index has surged 37% since January.  Employment uncertainty is growing exponentially.

Our proprietary Talent Retention Risk (TRR) ScoreSM tracks more than 2,000 events, triggers, and shocks that affect employment volatility.  Today’s update to our recently released Labor Market Benchmark Report highlights major shifts since the onset of the health crisis:

  • The pandemic is driving a nation-wide jolt in worker volatility. 11% of workers in the top 35 U.S. job categories are now considered more highly likely to engage, compared to 8% at the end of last year. To put that in perspective: a 3% point increase translates to four million additional people.
  • Historically stable job categories are increasingly volatile. Job categories with the highest percentage increase in worker volatility include teachers (+101%), skilled trades (+97%), construction (+83%), restaurant workers (+58%), and most concerning, healthcare workers (+77%) – including nurses and doctors (+54% each). While still categorized as low volatility categories, this spike has major implications on future risk with these workers on the front-line of our COVID-19 response.
  • Stability in times of crisis. Religious workers and the military moved down four and five spots respectively in the overall volatility ranking. Despite the pandemic, these professionals remain true to their calling, and are hunkering down to serve, help, and protect.

While some categories, like education (only up 16%), are finding ways to operate normally by moving courses and work online, other industries aren’t so resilient. Social distancing and travel restrictions are forcing many job functions – like Film and TV (up 53%) and arts (up 43%) — to put entire projects on hold. These slowdowns contribute to higher percentages of worker volatility.

A note to employers: Stay resilient through uncertain times

COVID-19 also ushers in higher risk of employee turnover. Despite news of recent furloughs and layoffs, the broader labor market – especially for competitive positions like software developers and marketing professionals — remains tight.

Continuing to proactively invest in retention and talent acquisition is critical for workforce leaders to build and sustain reliable talent pipelines amidst the growing uncertainty. But where should they focus?

One of our AI algorithms – the ENGAGE ME!SM  profile – predicts the job and company characteristics most likely to attract candidates. Not surprisingly, today, employees are putting more weight behind Company Resiliency (up 12% from December). From a retention and recruiting standpoint, Resiliency is now the most important message for organizations to communicate, followed by Business Stability.

To put this into perspective, the top messages in December were Strong Company Leadership, followed by Company Resiliency, Career Growth, and Positive Work Environments (all tied for second), with Business Stability third. The fact that a company’s resiliency and stability indices jumped over the past couple months is very noteworthy considering the algorithm typically requires sustained impact to markedly move up or down.

Workforce Logiq’s Likely to ENGAGE and Total Retention Risk (TRR) ScoresSM are living benchmarks, updated daily. Check back for more real-time insight to help you make informed talent retention and acquisition decisions during this challenging time.

To learn more about the pandemic-driven labor market changes we’re seeing, check out the full report.

David Trachtenberg, Chief Marketing Officer


David Trachtenberg, Chief Marketing Officer

David Trachtenberg joined Workforce Logiq in July 2018, as Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, he was Chief Marketing Officer at Advanced Discovery, a global e-Discovery and risk management firm; Chief Solutions Officer at vRad, the world’s largest telemedicine company; and Chief Marketing Officer at Global Compliance, a leading ethics and compliance services firm. David brings 20+ years of marketing leadership experience in public and private companies, including MCI Communications, StarBand, Prodigy Internet and Bain & Company. He has a BA in International Relations from Tufts University, an MA in International Affairs from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School. David is also on the Board of Governors at the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania.

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