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Where The Jobs Aren't

Jul. 16, 2020 11:54 AM ET14 Comments
John Mauldin profile picture
John Mauldin


  • Today, consumer preferences change before our eyes.
  • That’s a giant problem for employment in many sectors—and for everyone else who depends on spending by those workers and their families.
  • The kind of job openings tells us something, too. Hospitality and tourism are at the bottom of the list.
  • On the other end, “smaller than average declines” (since no sector was especially good) in job listings occurred in retail, driving, loading, stocking, beauty and wellness.
  • Yes, some specific areas and industries might do well. But consumer spending, consumer confidence, and business capital spending will be nowhere near normal.

A century or two ago, industries would shrink and disappear over decades, while others arose at a similar pace.

Today, consumer preferences change before our eyes. Companies and entire industries spring up overnight… and can collapse just as quickly, as we saw with the arrival of the coronavirus in America.

As recently as February, Americans were getting on planes and eating in restaurants without a second thought. Now, many are not… and don’t intend to anytime soon.

That’s a giant problem for employment in those sectors—and for everyone else who depends on spending by those workers and their families. Non-government data also suggests any jobs recovery will take time… maybe even until 2026.

Homebase, an online provider of employee time tracking software, shows that only 51% of the employees who were working at the beginning of January were working four months later, at the beginning of May.

Source: Homebase

It improved considerably as businesses reopened, reaching 77% by the end of June. But in absolute terms, it remains disastrous to have 23% of workers still jobless.

The Homebase data was an early and accurate tip-off back in March, revealing a significant business slowdown even before mandatory closures. It may be doing the same now, as coronavirus cases surge across states that were in the process of reopening.

That’s bad news generally, and especially for the permanent job losers who need to find new work and those who had gotten called back, only to be cut loose again.

Indeed.com, a top job search site, is a good barometer for hiring activity. Fewer job postings mean fewer job opportunities for those seeking them. And that is indeed (pun intended) what has happened.

Source: Indeed

Job postings collapsed in March, bottomed in early May (consistent with the Homebase data) and have been rising slowly since them. But

This article was written by

John Mauldin profile picture
I am a financial writer, publisher, and New York Times bestselling-author. Each week, nearly a million readers around the world receive my Thoughts From the Frontline free investment newsletter. My most recent book is Code Red: How to Protect Your Savings from the Coming Crisis. I appear regularly on CNBC and Bloomberg TV. I’m also Chairman of Mauldin Economics, a research group that provides monthly analysis and recommendations to thousands of readers around the world. I was previously CEO of the American Bureau of Economic Research. Today I am President of the investment advisory firm Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC. I am also president and registered principal of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC a FINRA and SIPC registered broker dealer. When I’m not traveling to speak at conferences and events, I live in Dallas, TX. I’m also the proud father of seven children.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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