Limited Recovery From California Wildfires: The Economic Chaos of Natural Disasters, Part III

The wildfires that ran savage in Northern California this past October blazed through tens of thousands of acres in Sonoma and Napa County, causing billions of dollars of damage. However, unlike the hiring surges we saw after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, we aren’t seeing many hiring surges in North California.

What’s going on?

Screenshot from 2017-11-07 13-52-21.png

Although we’re starting to see the beginning of a large demand forecast for architects and food service managers, we’re not seeing surging demand for mechanical engineers, nurses, project managers or much else.

Why Is This Disaster Different?

Senator Kamala Harris blasted the Trump Administration last week, protesting that California wasn’t included in their disaster relief budget:

https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-colleagues-press-senate-leadership-to-include-bipartisan-wildfire-funding-fix-in-upcoming-disaster-aid-legislation

There are similar billions of dollars in damage, but as many others have opined, the Trump Administration might be punishing a state that didn’t vote for it. (Unlike Texas and Florida, which both swung for Trump.)

[FIXME: Bake out.]

Food Service and Property Management Jobs

bokeh_plot (24)

Demand for both food service managers and property managers took an initial hit with the onset of the fire. I suppose no one was hiring while an unconstrained fire was still going on, but both jobs rose steady back to their all year high.

If your house has smoke or fire damage, it seems a reasonable time to start eating out everyday while your kitchen is replaced. Or perhaps you just decide to rent out an apartment until the house is livable. 8,000 people are currently displaced and living in temporary rentals.

Demand for property managers reached a peak of +241% and has shone no signs of dissipating. Similarly, demand for food service managers has hit +228% and also is still on the grow.

If you’re in the food service or property management profession, now is a good time to take your skills to Sonoma County and the surrounding Northern California area. 

Architecture & Drafting Jobs

bokeh_plot (25)

Demand for drafters increase to +98% and architects rise to +65% above average demand in Sonoma County.

Following both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma demand for architects and drafters went souring up. But in each of these cases, we saw these demands start only to increase around a month after the disaster.

4,658 homes were destroyed by the Tubbs wildfires. That number is between Houston’s 800 destroyed homes and the Florida Key’s 13,250 destroyed homes. Because of this, and the later starting date of the disaster, we forecast a sizable increased demand for architects and drafters.

If you’re an architect or drafter and you want to design new homes in Northern California, you should keep an eye on the job market there — they’re going to need you. Let us know or try ApplicationAssistant.


(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 52,866 job postings from the past 5 months in South Florida, covering 103 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.


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 two 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.

[*] 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.

Hiring Is Surging Up To 3.2x After Hurricane Irma: The Economic Chaos of Natural Disasters, Part II

In its October report, the Department of Labor showed hiring had rebounded to normal after the hurricanes. Our last post showed that this was actually wrong: not only did it rebound, hiring surged 2.9x in some cases after Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

What about Hurricane Irma? What happened in Florida?

Screenshot from 2017-11-06 11-32-06

Compared to Texas, the surges are even more dramatic in Florida: for instance, demand for architects is surging by 3.2x, food service managers by 2.6x and claims examiners by 2.3x.

What’s the difference? And why is it happening? Let’s dig in a bit more.

Nursing & Medical Assistant Jobs

bokeh_plot (17)

185mph winds start knocking roofs off houses and throwing fully-grown trees through the air… it’s bound to hurt people. Right after Hurricane Irma, Florida governor Rick Scott pleaded for help: Florida needed 1,000 nurses to meet special needs in shelters across the state and they needed them now.

Medical needs don’t disappear the day after a hurricane hits. Demand for nurse practitioners, medical assistants and others surged up dramatically after Hurricane Irma. Although the surge has dissipated for most medical professions by now, demand is still up 1.4x for medical assistants in South Florida.

Hotel, Food Service & Property Management Jobs

bokeh_plot (18)

The luxury and hospitality industry was hit the hardest during September, but not evenly across the board.

Although many tourists decided to cancel plans in September, nearly 7 million people need to be evacuated from their homes and await for that order to be lifted. Some stayed in shelters, but many also went to hotels. We found post-hurricane demand was 1.5x for hotel managers and a staggering 2.6x for food service managers. Demand for food service managers are stilled increased by (1.7x pre-hurricane levels).

And although there’s an ongoing seasonal downturn for property management heading in the fall, we saw a brief but significant surge for property managers after Irma passed through. (If you can’t go home after an evacuation, where do you go? An apartment.) In just a few weeks, demand for property managers surged up by 90% in late September.

If you have experience in food service and are looking for a job, you need to look in South Florida — 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).

After the calamity comes the cost.

Insurance- and Finance-Related Jobs

bokeh_plot (22).png

As with Hurricane Harvey, right after Hurricane Irma passed through, we saw a huge 2.3x surge in demand for claims examiners. Analysts estimate $42.5-$65 billion in property damage caused by Hurricane Irma. $19 billion of this estimated damage is just in Florida.

After the claims come in and the examiners return from inspections, what happens? If you’re a big insurance firm and about to pay out $6+ billion in damages, you might need someone with the mathematical mojo to figure out how you’re going to move all that money. In recent weeks, we’re seeing a 2.0x demand surge for financial analysts.

If you’re in the Gulf Coast or South and are looking for a financial analyst job, you should consider taking a short-term role in Florida.

Construction-Related Jobs

Hurricane Irma damaged 65% of all homes in the Florida Keys. That’s a mind-boggling level of damage. Many people have written about the shortage of contractors, but what else is this impacting?

Just a week after the hiring spike of claims examiners around September 15th above, you can see below that the demand for cost estimators jump up by +23% in just a few days below.

bokeh_plot (20)

You can practically see people working together, figuring out what needs to get done and then making it happen step-by-step. And then:

Once the estimators finish, surveyors start getting at it. After spiking dramatically up in early October, demand for surveyors is still increasing and currently 1.5x pre-hurricane levels.

Simultaneously, you can see demand for project managers increasing to 1.6x with a pronounced spike occurring on October 7th. Although demand started dropping briefly, demand for construction project managers actually started increasing again and is currently at 1.8x pre-hurricane demand.

If you’re a construction project manager or surveyor looking for work near the Gulf Coast, you should check out South Florida.

Design, Architecture & Engineering Jobs

Just as we need good people rebuilding on the ground, we also need people developing plans for destroyed buildings, testing structural integrity and drafting blueprints.

bokeh_plot (23).png

The #1 surge in post-hurricane demand? Architects, surging 3.2x over pre-hurricane levels. Although the surge peaked on October 7th, demand for architects is still up 1.6x over pre-hurricane levels. Similarly, demand for drafters surged dramatically (1.8x pre-hurricane levels) and is still at all-time highs (1.5x pre-hurricane demand).

Demand for architects spiked in Houston after Hurricane Harvey as our last article displayed, but not nearly as surging as in the after mass of Hurricane Irma. Why?

Hurricane Harvey damaged over 200,000 homes, but only 800 were completely destroyed (still a horrifying number). In contrast, Hurricane Irma destroyed 25% of the 53,000 homes in the Florida Keys. That’s 13,250 homes that are just gone.

It’s the difference between flood damage vs. wind damage. And it’s also the difference in demand for architects between Florida and Texas.

If you’re an architect or drafter and you want to design (hurricane-proof) buildings, you should search in Florida — they need you. These are rare, specialized skills and they’re hurting. Let us know or try ApplicationAssistant.


(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 52,866 job postings from the past 5 months in South Florida, covering 103 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.


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 two 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.

[*] 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.