Rising Job Postings Following a Tumultuous Year

Signal Employer Optimism at Close of 2020

February 3, 2021

Author: Erin Olson, Director of Strategic Research

A new report released by RealTime Talent on February 3, 2021 provides a comprehensive overview of employment, unemployment, and job posting trends statewide and in the metro area, and what signs we might be seeing of recovery as 2021 unfolds.  Here are some of the key takeaways. Read more in the full report, available here.


  • Statewide, total employment dropped by -12.1% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019 (includes self-employment).


  • The pandemic’s economic impacts on industries are uneven.
    • Accommodation and Food Services employment in Minnesota plummeted from its all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2019 at 238,136 people working to a 20-year low of just 196,017 by the second quarter of 2020—a drop of 17.7% in less than one year.
    • The Finance and Insurance Industry saw a decline of just 964 jobs statewide, or 0.6% of all employment during the same time period, taking overall industry employment back to almost an identical level seen in the third quarter of 2019.


  • Minnesota unemployment improved slightly from November to December 2020, hitting 5.3% unemployment on a 6-month moving average statewide according to MN DEED. This remains nearly double the rate observed in December 2019 (2.8%).
  • As of December 2020, about 23.6% of all people unemployed in Minnesota are long-term unemployed (more than 27 weeks), compared to just 13.1% in December 2019.

Occupations and Job Postings

  • Job posting volumes across Minnesota increased into December 2020, going against typical annual patterns and diverging from nationwide macro-level trends showing declining postings.
  • The two occupations with the greatest demand in Minnesota over the past five years both saw noticeable spikes in 2020, with demand for Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers jumping up in August through the end of 2020 (+36% overall), and demand rising markedly for Registered Nurses in November (+23% overall).
  • Statewide, new job posting volumes were down by -0.5% in 2020 compared to 2019. In the MSP Metro, new postings were down by about -6% overall.
  • December 2020 saw a rise in job postings in the MSP Metro, with total volume of new postings 21% higher than volumes seen in 2019 (see charts at the bottom of this post). You can also view monthly job posting trends and other real-time indicators of recovery over time on GreaterMSP’s Recovery Hub, to which RealTime Talent is a contributing partner.

Career Fields and Clusters

  • Hospitality and Tourism (-20% YOY) and Arts, Audio/Visual, and Communications (-19% YOY) saw the greatest declines in employer demand evidenced in new online job postings in the MSP Metro in 2020, while Health Science (+11% YOY) and Engineering, Manufacturing, and Technology (+6%) saw higher volumes of job postings in 2020 than the prior year (see charts at the bottom of this post).
  • The Information Technology career cluster, which only saw a -4% decline in overall volumes of postings in 2020 across the MSP Metro, experienced higher than usual demand for Applications Software Developers (+20%) and Information Security Analysts (+21%), with this high demand relatively sustained throughout the year.
  • Human Services, which tool an overall hit of about -13% in the MSP Metro, saw dramatic fluctuation over the course of the year with some key positions like Supervisors of Protective Service Workers (+26%), Interpreters and Translators (+156%), Occupational Health and Safety Specialists (+21%), and Marriage and Family Therapists (+182%) all rising well beyond volumes seen in either 2018 or 2019. All jobs associated with the U.S. Postal Service were up dramatically, between 42 and 394% depending on the specific role.

Requirements and Recruitment Patterns

  • During the pandemic months, a higher share of new postings in the MSP Metro were for positions requiring an Associate’s degree or less than in pre-pandemic postings. There was not a significant change in desired experience level of talent.
  • Sources used to advertise postings have shifted moderately. Indeed reported declines in overall job posting volumes in 2020 compared to 2019, and a decline was also observed on MinnesotaWorks (-8.5%), CareerBuilder (-5.8%), MinneapolsCareerSite.com (-12.2%), ZipRecruiter (-47.2%), and Corporate sites (-20.9%). However, SnagAJob (+53.8%), LocalJobNetwork (+13.2%), JobsHQ (+81.2%), and Nurse.com (+287.2%) all saw increases in postings across Minnesota.
  • Statewide, volumes of new remote work postings were up by 49% in 2020 compared to 2019, with remote work opportunities for Insurance Sales Agents (+311%), Software Developers (+108%), and Customer Service Representatives (+448%) being highest in volume and seeing dramatic increases compared to 2019. Demand for remote talent in interpretation and translation services grew by over 2,000%, or over 1,000 unique job postings for work-from-home interpreters (see chart at the bottom of this post).


Employment Forecast Data Source

Chmura Economics. www.JobsEQ.com. Accessed January 28, 2021. Contact Erin Olson at erin@realtimetalentmn.org for specific search definitions.

Job Posting Data Source

Gartner TalentNeuron Recruit. www.wantedanalytics.com. Accessed January 21, 2021. Deduplicated, New, Unique Job Postings in Minnesota and the 7-County MSP Metro (Total and % YOY change). Contact Erin Olson at erin@realtimetalentmn.org for specific search definitions.

Other Sources Referenced

Bureau of Labor Statistics. “December News Release.” January 8, 2021. Accessed at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

Cambon, Sarah Chaney. “U.S. Job Postings End 2020 Well Below Pre-Pandemic Levels.” Wall Street Journal. January 12, 2021. Accessed at https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-job-postings-end-2020-well-below-pre-pandemic-levels-11610447401

MN DEED. “Alternative Measures of Unemployment. January 16, 2021. Accessed at https://mn.gov/deed/data/current-econ-highlights/alternative-unemployment.jsp

Putzier, Konrad. “Hotel Owners Continue to Reel from the Pandemic.” Wall Street Journal. January 2, 2021. Accessed at https://www.wsj.com/articles/hotel-owners-continue-to-reel-from-the-pandemic-11609563815?mod=article_inline

GreaterMSP’s MSP Regional Recovery Hub. Accessible at https://www.greatermsp.org/index.php?src=directory&view=featured_content&category=Intelligence%20