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Here’s why it may be harder to find a job online

Jan 20, 2024, 7:10 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

Software development and finance jobs have seen the greatest declines in online job postings since ...

Software development and finance jobs have seen the greatest declines in online job postings since the start of last year, according to Indeed. (Pekic/E+/Getty Images)

(Pekic/E+/Getty Images)

(CNN) —  The US economic picture of the last few years has been defined by an ultra-strong labor market.

But new online job posting data suggests a possible slowdown: Total job postings on online job site Indeed have fallen more than 15% compared to the start of 2023, according to data as of Jan. 5 shared with CNN by Nick Bunker, Indeed’s economic research director for North America.

Bunker said that new job postings, or those that have been on Indeed for 7 days or less, are down 13.5% year-over-year.

LinkedIn, which pools hiring data from its over 206 million US users, has similarly seen a drop-off in hiring between late 2022 and late 2023.

A surplus of open roles for the past few years has made it easy for Americans to jump from job to job, gaining higher pay and perks like remote work in the process. As a new year begins, though, a new era for job hunting may be beginning – and workers’ leverage to demand remote work may be slipping away.

Which industries are hiring?

Traditional white-collar office jobs have decreased their online recruiting efforts the most, according to Indeed. “Software development job postings are down 44.6% from a year ago, while postings for banking and finance jobs are down 31.3%,” Bunker said.

But Indeed isn’t the only online jobs marketplace with data pointing to a labor market slowdown this year.

In a report released Wednesday, LinkedIn’s chief economist, Karin Kimbrough, shared that according to the site’s data, hiring on LinkedIn in December was down nearly 10% year-over-year.

Kimbrough said she expects competition for jobs to “intensify” going into 2024 as the pace of hiring levels off.

“Whether we look at official US, Canadian, Australian, UK, or EU data, the story is the same ­– job vacancies and openings have come down across the board and show no signs of increasing,” she said.

Fewer jobs offer remote work

As competition increases amid fewer job listings, employers have been less willing to offer a perk that has become a defining characteristic of the post-pandemic working world: remote work.

Much of the relative strength in hiring in 2023 came from in-person jobs, like food preparation and service and retail, according to Indeed’s data.

At its peak in April 2022, remote job postings made up 20% of all jobs posted on LinkedIn, according to a report from the company on the state of remote work. Since then, the share of job listings allowing employees to work from home has fallen precipitously.

The percentage of US remote job postings on LinkedIn dropped over 9% from January 2022 to December 2023, even as interest in these jobs remains high. Forty-six percent of all applications sent via LinkedIn were for remote jobs in December, according to the company.

According to the report, online listings advertising remote roles received five times the share of applications compared to jobs without a remote work option.

Softening employment data

The private sector data echoes federal government figures. US job openings fell in November to their lowest level since March 2021, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey – and while the national unemployment rate has been at or below 4% for two straight years, the labor market may be facing a turning point.

In a January note to clients, Wells Fargo economists highlighted signs that there may be a softening employment picture under the surface, including narrowing wage gains and unemployment creeping higher.

“Underneath still-solid headline numbers, we see some cracks that keep us cautious about the degree to which strength can carry forward through 2024.” Wells Fargo’s economists wrote. “We expect the jobs market to soften further this year.”

According to the latest data, the labor market remains historically strong: last month, the US economy added 216,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.

However, some high-profile companies have announced layoffs at the start of the new year. This month, tech giants Google and Amazon each said that they planned to cut hundreds of workers. Last week, Citigroup also announced it would lay off 20,000 employees over the next two years.

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Here’s why it may be harder to find a job online