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Jobs and industries in demand - and job search trends for 2021

CareerBuilder | January 12, 2021

CareerBuilder Hiring Data Series

Here's what hiring looked like in December 2020.

Let's dive in to where jobs were lost in December, who was impacted most and tips for finding a job in 2021 based on these trends.

Employment by the numbers

  • Overall unemployment: 6.7% - same as last month, but 140,000 people (all women) lost their jobs in December
  • Unemployment by demographic groups:
    • Women – 6.3%
    • Men – 6.4%
    • Asian workers – 5.9%
    • White workers – 6%
    • Hispanic workers – 9.3%
    • Black workers – 9.9%
  • Temporary layoffs: Increased by 277,000 people in December, bringing the total number to 3 million workers. Pre-pandemic, this was 0.7 million people.
  • Permanent job losses declined by 348,000, bringing the number down to 3.4 million workers out of a job. This number was 1.3 million in February 2020.
  • Employees who worked from home (teleworking): 23.7% of employed workers did so at home or remotely in December, a slight increase from November.
  • People unable to work due to pandemic: 15.8 million people reported they were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. This number increase by 1 million from November.

As we start the new year, many industries still have limited opportunities for job seekers while our data has found that others are growing in their need for hiring.

Here are a few trends we’re seeing and keep reading for in-demand jobs:

Upskilling and reskilling. During the past few months, entire industries and job roles have been turned inside out or disappeared. Prioritize learning new skills that will be applicable for the future of work, and look for potential employers that offer programs for professional development, upskilling and other education.

Healthcare workers are still in high demand. Healthcare moved up a few positions from the previous month for top industries hiring, and registered nurses and critical care nurses are back in the top 10 available jobs after previously moving down on the list.

Retail jobs have been down overall, but we’ve seen their steady return to growth over the past few months. Retail remains one of the top industries hiring and retail sales workers remain on the top 10 while retail salespersons moved back on the top 10 list.

Tech stands strong through the pandemic. Professional, scientific, and technical services are among the top industries hiring, with increased demand for software/app developers.

Truck drivers remain as one of the top positions. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, and light trucking/delivery drivers remained among the top posted positions. With growing cases across the country, and coming off the holiday shopping season, the shift to online will continue into the spring.