Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated Texas and Florida, killing hundreds of people, causing hundreds of billions of dollars in damage, and displacing tens of thousands of families. It wrecked the economy, wiping out 110,000+ jobs in September alone.

On Friday, the Labor Department released its October hiring report, showing that hiring had rebounded to normal: 261,000 jobs added. But, here’s what they missed: not only did it rebound, but hiring increased dramatically beyond 2017 norms in hurricane-affected regions.

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In coastal Texas, for instance, demand for project managers surged by +179%, nurses and counselors by +140%, and architects by +114%.

What’s the deal? Let’s dig in a bit.

Nursing & Counseling Jobs

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We all saw the horrifying videos of flood waters coursing through Houston, and many of us read about dangerous chemical contaminates leaking into the rising waters. As health concerns rose, so too did the demand for medical-related professions. We found a +94% jump in demand for nurse practitioners, +140% jump for registered nurses, and +110% jump for nursing aides.

Simultaneously, as people were returning home and seeing the devastation, the demand for mental health counselors rose too: we saw a +180% jump in demand for counselors, peaking in early October.

Although demand is dropping back down, if you’re in a medical- or mental health-related profession, and want to help in future national disaster crises, upload your resume to TalentWorks and we’ll alert you whenever we detect an imminent surge.

Hotel, Food Service & Property Management Jobs

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Wait. I know what you’re thinking… “Didn’t I just see something about the hotel industry getting decimated by the hurricanes?” You’re right, they did.

There’s a big difference between tourists canceling plans and residents moving back: 1,000 tourists might cancel vacations right before a hurricane hits, but tens of thousands of residents will come home a week later and discover they need a place to stay. FEMA estimated that up to 53,000 people were living in hotels because of Hurricane Harvey.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, demand jumped by +109% for hotel managers and by 71% for food service managers. Although demand has dissipated for hotel managers, demand for food service managers is actually increasing (+116% pre-hurricane levels), likely because people are coming home and realizing their kitchens are unusable.

Finally, hotels get expensive fast. Where do you go if you can’t go home? An apartment. In the past few weeks, demand for property managers jumped by +130% over pre-hurricane levels near Houston and Corpus Christi.

If you have experience in food service or property management and are looking for a job, you really need to look in coastal Texas — they need you and you need them. Let us know if we can help (we’re offering our services for free to anyone displaced by Hurricane Harvey or Irma; see below).

So, what now?

Insurance & Finance-Related Jobs

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You’re paying exorbitant prices for price-jacking hotels, medical bills, eating out. You need to pay for all that — insurance. And insurance companies need people to pay out all those damages. (And people to fix all that damage too, but we’ll get to that in a second.)

In the immediate aftermath of hurricane Harvey, we saw an +72% increase in hiring for claims examiners. Here’s the amazing part: insurance firms began hiring for claims examiners before Harvey had even made landfall! Insurance firms are big corporations who’ve seen this before; they’re putting their disaster response playbook in action.

If you’re a big corporation that knows you’re going to be paying out lots of money, what else do you need? Financial analysts who can help you figure out what it means for your bottom line. Demand for financial analysts jumped by +77% after Hurricane Harvey.

Architecture, Engineering & Construction Jobs

Let’s review some quick numbers: Harvey damaged nearly 200,000 homes in Texas. The shortage of laborers and contractors is well-known, but demand for professional construction-related jobs also surged way up. What do you need to rebuild a city?

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Architects, for one. Not only did demand for architects surge +114% in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, demand for architects is still increasing and at nearly 2x average demand of recent months.

After architects draw up the blueprints, who do you call? Demand for drafters — the folks who make the actual technical plans — jumped by +51%. Simultaneously, demand for mechanical engineers surged by 35% and civil engineers by 28%. 

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Finally, you start building. Beyond construction workers and laborers, there’s surging demand for professional, white-collar workers too. In mid-September, there was a +81% surge for cost estimators.

And, it’s still going: in just these past few weeks, there’s been a +179% hiring surge for construction project managers.


(If you don’t care about the math-y details, just skip ahead to the next section. If you want to nerd out with us, feel free. We’re all nerds at heart here at TalentWorks.)

Our Methodology

We performed a timeseries analysis of a random subsample of 54,826 job postings from the past 5 months in coastal Texas, covering 110 distinct industries and roles. For each role, we then regressed the number of job postings per day using a blended linear kernel and computed p-values using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, comparing post-hurricane samples to a 90-day pre-hurricane baseline period. The above is a selection of  jobs that had p-values less than 0.100.

Although the above graphs don’t explicitly control for seasonality, we cross-checked seasonality separately and found that they can’t explain the surges above. We also did an initial perturbation analysis and verified the above surges are robust to noise.

David Blaszka, one of TalentWorks’ data analysts, drove most of the research and analysis for this post. Kushal helped a bit and wrote a lot of this blog post.


Next Steps: What Can You Do?

“That’s cute and all, but what am I supposed to do with all of that?” (You might be thinking…) Here are three things you can do today:

  1. Are you looking for a job? If you’ve been displaced by Hurricane Irma or Harvey, I’m making the executive decision today (perks of being CEO…) that TalentWorks will offer all of our help to you for free, including our Interview Guarantee. (We have an 88% success rate.) [*]
  2. Do you want personalized alerts about hiring surges near you? (So you can be first-in-line for job applications! Applying quickly matters, a lot.) To get real-time personalized alerts, upload your resume to TalentWorks.
  1. Donate to the Southeast Texas Food Bank. Southeast Texas is going through a real food crisis, and their food banks are getting hit hard. If you can, please donate. I’ve already donated $103 and I’ll match the first $1,000 in donations (just forward your receipt to [email protected]).southeast-texas-food-bank-donation

[*] To make this happen, sign up for ApplicationAssistant normally and just email your TalentAdvocate proof that you lived near Florida or coastal Texas. It’ll ask for a credit card but we’ll update your plan immediately and you won’t get charged.


This is an ongoing series about the economic chaos of natural disasters. Next week, we’ll write about the effects of Hurricane Irma on hiring in South Florida. Want to stay up-to-date on all things about your job search? Sign up for our blog!



P.S. We’ll never spam you. We send at most one email a week.

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About the Author Kushal Chakrabarti

Mission-driven entrepreneur, world traveler (400K+ miles), dad to 100-pound German Shepherd. My #1 mission: To help you get the job you deserve.

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