The Economic Crisis and the US Online Job Market

In my previous post, I noted that despite the large decline in total number of job postings, the number Hadoop/MapReduce job postings increased by 49%. What is the current state of the online job market? The financial crisis that began in the Fall of 2008 has had a lasting negative effect on the U.S. online job market. Since late 2008, there have been significantly less jobs posted online.

Using data from SimplyHired and a few charts, I’ll quickly highlight the impact of the global economic crisis on the U.S. online job market. To quantify the sudden drop in U.S. online job postings, I calculated the average number of job posts per day:


The number of posts declined 49% from Jan/May 2008 to Jan/May 2009. While there has been a downward trend since April 2008, the financial crisis in September 2008 marked the start of even larger reductions. In particular, the relatively small number of job postings in Nov/Dec 2008 has carried over into the first five months of 2009. The sharp seasonal rebound that occurs in Jan/Feb of each year, was practically non-existent in 2009. While some forecasters are seeing signs of a recovery, at least through the first five months of 2009, we haven’t detected “green shoots” in the U.S. online job market.

Looking at job postings by location, the Top 20 states (in terms of # of postings from Jan/May 2009), suffered losses ranging from 38% (MD,VA) to 58% (MN) fewer postings per day:


Declines weren’t confined to states with large numbers of job postings, or certain regions of the country. Every state suffered large drops: the “best-performing” state (OK) saw a 36% decline in number of job postings per day.


(†) In partnership with SimplyHired and Greenplum, we maintain a data warehouse that contains most U.S. online job postings dating back to mid-2005.

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  • Great post, the thing to remember is that company’s don’t have to post jobs now. It is a waste of money. Most large organizations are doing networking on their own and referring people in their network for jobs that are open.

    Jay Hofmeister

  • robert odell

    According to a story on 40% of queried companies are increasing their outsourcing. What happened to training and the other happy talk?

    • Hi Robert,

      Fierce competition is the main challenge facing job-seekers: the number of jobs being posted is shrinking, at a time when the number of unemployed is rising. Check out these two charts.


  • Just noting a typo:

    in …the financial crisis in September 2009 marked the start of even…

    substituted 2009 for 2008

    • Preston,
      Good catch, I fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • max

    anyone know if craigslist postings have increased during this period?

  • Ben:

    Critical to observe but important to remember that job availability must not be measured by classified ads or postings as we know them today.

    Our clients know that much hiring is transacted from referral sources and today many times not even through recruiters. We teach our folks to source companies they desire as opposed to chasing job openings. We see hires from companies where none previously existed, once they are attracted to a strong candidate with compelling presentation skills.

    Janice Worthington
    Certified Career Coach and Resume Writer
    Since 1973

  • Jobseeker09

    Does this account for all of the bogus jobs that have been posted online, from staffing agencies and scams? The amount of ridiculous jobs on the boards are immeasureable.

  • To Jobseeker09, Why would anyone PAY for a job posting if it is bogus?

  • Anon

    What’s on the Y Axis (vertical)? Without a scale, this is modern art!

    The data in the other diagrams (and on today’s post) are indeed quite staggering.

  • Kimet

    I investigate scam job postings all the time. A lot of times they attempt to pay with stolen credit card or pay pal account that has been phished and if you are a job board that lets the “poster” enter in their own data instantly the scam job gets listed and then all the different spiders…pick it up and share it with other boards. The purpose of the scam jobs vary but generally they are either trying to get desperate job seekers to commit fraud for them…sending money/hot merchandise elsewhere, giving the job poster money and/or to harvest email addresses to further their scams with unsolicited spam opportunities.