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Job Postings, Applications, and Wages: Evidence from Homebase


As COVID-19 cases decline, vaccination rates rise, and pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed, the American labor market is recovering from the large job losses that occurred in March and April 2020. There has been particular interest in how employment is recovering in retail, hospitality, and food services—the sectors that experienced the largest declines in employment at the start of the pandemic.

We’re working with Homebase data to better understand how workers and firms in these sectors have been responding to the reopening of the economy. Homebase provides timecard, scheduling, and other workforce management services to small and medium-sized businesses, many in the food services and retail sectors.  As part of these services, Homebase provides a hiring tool to their client firms that allows them to post job openings on all the main hiring websites and aggregate applications received across these hiring websites.

These hiring tool data allow us to measure at high-frequency how job posts and applications are evolving at small and medium-sized businesses providing in-person services (see our previous post and paper documenting the characteristics of Homebase clients in general for more information). These businesses are heavily concentrated in sectors like food and drink and retail that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Their jobs typically require in-person work, potentially raising concerns about virus exposure risks; offer relatively modest wages, with average offered hourly wages around $12-15; and require little in the way of formal training or credentials.

This work has been supported, in part, by the University of California Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives grants MRP-19-600774 and M21PR3278.

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