Job Creation during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan


In response to the COVID-19 shock, the number of new job vacancies declined by 30% in April 2020, with no signs of recovery in May 2020. We present five facts behind the collapse in job creation using newly available microdata on vacancy postings that underly official vacancy statistics. First, the number of vacancy postings has a strong negative correlation with the tendency to stay at home across regions, but not with the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases or business suspension requests by local governors. Second, 80% of the collapse in job creation has been due to the hiring freezes at the firm level. Larger firms and older firms froze hiring more. Third, occupations with high share of working-from-home time, measured using a household survey, saw a smaller decline in vacancy postings. Fourth, posted wages barely responded to the COVID-19 shock at the aggregate-, the regional-, and the job-level. Fifth, the monthly probability of posted wage adjustment has been stable at 10% during the pandemic, with more rigidity downward, and the wage growth conditional on adjustment during the pandemic is around 1 lower than the previous year.

Shinnosuke Kikuchi
Ph.D. student

I am a macroeconomist interested in understanding inequality and technology.