Tracking the economic impact of the coronavirus

As we all navigate the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re also mindful of the economic challenges it will create. Businesses reliant on human contact -- like travel, restaurant and hospitality industries -- are suffering an immediate impact, but we expect to see significant changes across all industries and throughout the world of work in the months ahead.

Our LinkedIn Economic Graph team is keeping a close eye on the disruption it’s causing on the global labor market. While it’s still early to understand the impact, here are some early insights:

  • An increase in members looking for experts. In January, as awareness of the virus began to emerge throughout China, we found a 58% increase year-on-year in our members’ inMail direct messages sent to Chinese members with epidemiology skills, a greater rate than before the outbreak began.
  • Changes in what members are doing on the platform. At the height of the outbreak and quarantine measures in China, we saw a marked reduction in job search activity and applications for open jobs. Now that life in China is returning to normal, we are seeing a notable rebound in job search activity and applications. A similar pattern is emerging in Italy, as containment measures intensified in the past few weeks have started to see that same softening in job search activity and applications.
  • Hiring Rate in the United States and around the world is a key indicator. Our March U.S. workforce report shows signs of sustained hiring that reflected robust labor market growth and consumer confidence. However, this was the spread of coronavirus globally, so we expect it will fluctuate in the months ahead. We’re also tracking initial jobless claims in the U.S. to get a sense of the first signs of stress in the labor market.

We’re only just starting to see the economic impacts of coronavirus reflected in our data. In the short term, small businesses and their workers may likely be hit hardest as confinement measures take effect. In the long-term, it’s possible the outbreak will lead to real structural change in the way we work, learn, and connect with others.

Stay tuned for more insights from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph as we gain a clearer understanding of how this global pandemic is changing the world of work. What indicators are you tracking?