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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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15 Jobs With Surging Demand Near Houston: The Economic Chaos of Natural Disasters, Part I

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.

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends!