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As COVID-19 cases continue to set new records and restrictions are once again tightening, any remaining hopes of a labor market recovery in 2020 are fading. As we hunker down for a holiday season without contact outside our households, let’s check in on three sectors of the job market that have been heavily impacted by the events of 2020.
First up is retail. As readers of this blog will remember, Amazon and other big online retailers have thrived in this economy, and jobs in their warehouse and logistics facilities have made this sector one of the few industries to significantly grow this year. In the chart below, we can see how the number of job postings in the sector nearly tripled from 2019 levels, especially during the months when PUA payments were highest and the spread of the virus was less rampant. Unfortunately, the last month and a half have seen the sector return to 2019 levels as COVID cases have skyrocketed, likely due to businesses reaching optimal staffing levels and a drop in demand as out-of-work consumers reduce spending on non-essentials. To date in 2020, there has been a net gain of over 38,000 retail jobs compared to the same date in 2019, a 77% increase.