Global economy stands, but it's on shaky legs

A snapshot of global hiring May 4 - 22, 2020 based on LinkedIn research

As we head into month six of the coronavirus pandemic, the global labor market is standing on shaky legs. In my previous update, I shared my outlook that globally we may be through the worst of hiring freefalls. This continues to hold true, but we have to put it in context. While hiring may be stabilizing, we’re still seeing millions lose their jobs as a result of this pandemic. These are unprecedented numbers that we’ve never seen before, and it will be years before we get back to the levels of growth and strength  we saw in hiring at the start of 2020. 

LinkedIn hiring data paints a picture of slow recovery 

  • In China, after 12 weeks of gradual recovery, the hiring rate has slowly leveled out to 2019 levels, but we're not seeing signs of outright growth in hiring yet relative to a year ago.

  • In Europe, where countries are several weeks behind China, we are just now seeing the very beginning of a recovery, particularly in France where hiring rates are beginning to lift up from their April lows.

  • And in the U.S., the hiring rate has flatlined over the past two weeks, hovering around -34% versus this time in 2019. We may see signs of recovery soon, but any improvement off of a base of tens of millions of jobs lost, could still mean enormous levels of unemployment for months or years. We expect a long and fitful recovery and the U.S. economy won’t feel “normal” for a very long time. 


This now months-long hiring depression comes after years of sustained growth, and combined with massive changes to the way we work, is driving uncertainty as people think about what comes next. We’re measuring this sentiment in our Workforce Confidence Index, where week-over-week people in the U.S. have told us they aren’t so confident about their long-term career and financial stability.

Unstable wages and a challenging U.S. job market

  • When thinking long-term, U.S. professionals are the least confident about their ability to improve their financial situation in the next 6 months, and slightly more confident in their ability to progress their career in the next year.

  • A quarter of U.S. professionals expect their earned income or wages to decrease over the next six months

  • A majority (56%) of people in the U.S. believe they can be effective from home, and more than half  (65%) agree it would work for their whole industry.

Overall, we’re still in the middle of this crisis and will continue to see the fallout as countries like Brazil and Peru are being hit hard. We’re anticipating a long, fitful recovery, even for those countries already on the other side. 

Follow the Economic Graph on LinkedIn and subscribe to George Anders’ weekly Workforce Insights newsletter to stay up to date on our research.