LinkedIn data shows strong hiring in transportation, highlights regional movements

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Data from LinkedIn’s monthly workforce report shows that hiring in the transportation and logistics sector has continued at a strong pace throughout the last year. While this reinforces much of what has been reported through government statistics, LinkedIn is able to leverage its unique social media data to discover new trends about labor markets in the economy.

About the LinkedIn monthly workforce report

Each month, LinkedIn produces a monthly report on hiring, skills, and labor migration trends in the US economy. By analyzing the social media profiles on their more than 150 million member base, the company attempts to provide additional insight into the dynamics of the US labor force. Data is reported on a national level, but is also provided for 20 of the largest metro areas in the country.

The report focuses on three key metrics to explain labor market dynamics in the economy, with each metric indexed to the average month in 2015-2016:

Hiring rate:  the hiring rate measures the number of LinkedIn profiles who have added a new employer to their profile in the same month that the new job begins, divided by the total number of LinkedIn members

Skills gap:  the skills gap measures the difference between the demand for a skill that employers need, and the supply of workers who have that skill in a particular location. The demand measure stems from job posting data on LinkedIn, while the supply is derived from skills listed on member profiles

Migration: a migration is determined from a member changing location on his/her LinkedIn profile. That data is then aggregated by city and movements in and out of cities are reported per 10,000 LinkedIn members in the city.

In many ways, this kind of data looks at many of the same issues that government statistics try to address. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics already releases fairly timely data on job growth, hiring, job openings, quits, and separations for the national economy, and even drill down to the metro area level with various measures of employment.

Still, almost all of these government statistics rely heavily on survey responses for collection. There is considerable opportunity to leverage some of the bigger, private data sets to provide additional color on the state of the US economy. With the proliferation of social media and the internet of things, companies are capturing aspects of human and economic behavior that have long eluded government agencies, and can highlight key trends that may otherwise go unnoticed. While some of these data sets lack the deep history that comes with some government statistics, they offer the potential for more rich analysis of economic behavior.

August’s highlights

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Data covering August activity in the labor market was released earlier this week, showing that hiring across the country rose 0.1% from July’s levels on a seasonally adjusted basis. Hiring in the economy is now 2.9% higher than at this point last year nationally.

Results were not uniform across all industries however, with some sectors of the economy experiencing significantly more hiring than others. Agriculture saw the highest percentage increase in hiring over the past 12 months, up 19.9% from this point last year. Transportation and logistics saw the second highest growth during the month, as hiring in that sector rose 13.3% since last August. Arts and nonprofits saw the biggest declines in the August numbers, falling 6.25 and 0.7% year-over-year, respectively.

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Data on skills gaps gives a bit of insight at a local level, with New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles exhibiting the largest skill gaps in the country. A shortage of skills is the primary problem in the San Francisco area, with employers looking for more people with oral communication and business management skills than the workforce has to offer. The story was similar in Los Angeles, where employers were searching for more workers with oral communication and social media skills.

New York carries the distinction of being high on the list of cities with both a surplus and a shortage of skills, in part due to the city’s massive population. Oral communication skills again ranked at the top of New York’s skills shortage, while negotiation and procurement skills topped the list of skills in surplus in the city

Results on migration show that Wichita, Kansas is losing more workers than any other city, as 280 of every 10,000 members left the city in the past 12 months. Many high paying jobs continue to leave smaller cities like Wichita, and workers find themselves migrating to cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, or Houston. Austin, Texas saw the largest gain in workers over the past 12 months, with 107 out of every 10,000 members arriving there.