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

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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.

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.

houston-counselors-architects-project-managers-paralegals-hotel-managers.png

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

houston-counselors-nurses-aides-practitioners.png

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

houston-property-food-hotel-managers.png

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

houston-claims-examiners-loan-officers-financial-analysts.png

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?

houston-architect-drafter-civil-engineer.png

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%. 

houston-project-managers-estimators.png

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 kushal@talent.works).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.

You’re 5x More Likely to Get a Job Interview If You Apply by 10am

Applying to jobs can be a full-time job itself. It’s especially taxing if you’re already working. When do you have time to fill out job application after job application? After work, maybe. Before lunch, if you’re especially committed. But, here’s the thing: they’re the absolute worst times to apply for a job.

We’re always looking for ways to make the job search easier. While looking through our latest data, we discovered this nugget: Applying to a job before 10am can increase your odds of getting an interview by 5x.

what-best-time-apply-for-job
The best time to apply for a job is between 6am and 10am. During this time, you have an 13% chance of getting an interview — nearly 5x as if you applied to the same job after work. Whatever you do, don’t apply after 4pm.

We analyzed a subsample of 1,610 job applications (that were sent at random application times) to see how much time of day affects your likelihood of scoring an interview. Here’s what we found:

  • The best time to apply for a job is between 6am and 10am. During this time, you have an 13% chance of getting an interview.
  • After that morning window, your interview odds start falling by 10% every 30 minutes. If you’re late, you’re going to pay dearly.
  • There’s a brief reprieve during lunchtime, where your odds climb back up to 11% at around 12:30pm but then start falling precipitously again.
  • The single-worst time to apply for a job is after work — if you apply at 7:30pm, you have less than a 3% chance of getting an interview. You’re fighting another clock here (the number of days a job has been posted) but, at this point, it’s better to save your email until the next morning.

One really important (but subtle) aspect above: You have to send the application during the morning of the employer’s timezone. If you don’t manage against the employer’s timezone, the effect disappears.

What’s the big deal about morning and lunch? Well, there’s one really intriguing insight into what might be happening here…

A few years ago, a group of scientists from Princeton published a stunning discovery about bias in the judicial system. This wasn’t about money, sexism, racism — no, nothing like that. Instead, it was about coffee breaks. Seriously. (Here’s the original paper.)

parole-judge-coffee-breaks
Your chances of getting parole depends more on when your judge had a coffee break, not whether you’re actually rehabilitated or not.

In short, if your parole hearing was scheduled after a judge got her coffee break, you had a 65% chance of getting parole. (That is, if you were lucky enough or if your lawyer was smart enough or if you were rich enough.) If you were scheduled right before break, you had a near-zero chance of getting parole.

How do parole hearings relate to the job search? Well, just that there’s two nameless, faceless committees of people who can change your life with the stroke of a pen…

I’ll let you connect the dots.

So much of life feels random and out of our control — applying for a job, for one. But really, when something feels random, it usually means that there’s something we don’t understand. When you discover what that is and start to understand it, you can begin the process of taking back control.

What does all of this mean? When you combine this with the last post in our series, there are already two big things that you can do to take back control in your job search:

  1. Apply to jobs in the first 3-4 days of a job posting; and,
  2. Apply to jobs before 10am (in the employer’s timezone).

There’s both an art and a science to the job search — in combination, just these two optimizations can (scientifically) increase your odds of getting a job by nearly 40x.


Are you looking for a job? If so, try ApplicationAssistant. In addition to your job applications being submitted before 10am, we also make sure your job is applied to in the first few days and that every other optimization is also followed — you’ll automatically get the benefits of everything we know about the job search.


EDIT 1: Holy smokes, Batman — this went viral. Reddit reports 25,000+ people in ~4 hours and it’s accelerating fast. As I’m not able to reply to all the requests personally or get ahead of the comment wave, I wanted to clarify a few things about methodology:

  1. This is a randomized controlled trial and so accounts for correlation vs. causation. Specifically, these are semi-automated job applications that TalentWorks submitted on behalf of our ApplicationAssistant users.
    • Job applications were randomly sequenced (and submitted) by our systems without regard to users’ qualifications, personality, experience, resume, etc. There is no correlation between application time and user traits.
    • We’re incorporating this study’s insights into ApplicationAssistant to make sure our users have the best, most optimized application possible.
    • This will inhibit our ability to do an analysis like this in the future, but our #1 mission is to help people get the job they deserve and that’s more important.
  2. This subsample of 1,610 job applications covers users across a wide cross section of experiences, roles and industries.
    • There are 30 distinct industries and roles represented in this subsample including sales, writing, software engineering and project management.
    • Work experience ranged from 0 years to 26 years, with an average of 6.7 years of experience per user.

EDIT 2: 100,000+ people in ~15 hours! And it’s still climbing fast.


EDIT 3: Looks like things are starting to taper out. 130,000+ people in 1 day!

Getting Ghosted On Your Job Applications? Here’s Fix #1: Apply Within 96 Hours

You’ve been looking for jobs for weeks. You spend your days painstakingly customizing resumes and crafting cover letters. After each application, you sit by your inbox repeatedly clicking refresh, anxiously waiting for a reply. You wait, and you wait, and you wait… until you finally receive a form rejection letter or give up hope after weeks of not hearing back. You die a little inside each time.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but I think we can all agree getting ghosted for a job (or anything) sucks. So, how can you minimize your risk of getting ghosted on a job application? By applying to jobs during their “Golden Hour” (the first 96 hours after a job gets posted), you can reduce your chance of getting ghosted by up to 8x.

Timing matters. If you submit a job application in the first 96 hours, you’re up to 8x more likely to get an interview. After that, every day you wait reduces your chances by 28%.

We analyzed a sample of 1,600 job applications to determine the interview rate (the probability of getting an interview from one application) vs. when the application was submitted (the number of days between when the job was posted and when the application was submitted).

Here’s what we found. In short, you can think about the timing of your job application in three different stages:

  1. The “Golden Hour”: Applications submitted between 2-4 days after a job is posted have the highest chance of getting an interview. Not only is there a difference, there’s a big difference: you have up to an 8x higher chance of getting an interview during this period, even if you’re submitting the same application.
  2. The Twilight Zone: Things are going from OK to real bad quickly here. Every day you wait after the “Golden Hour” reduces your chances by 28%. The longer you wait, the higher the risk that employers have already checked their inboxes and setup interviews with candidates that met their “good enough” bar.
  3. The Resume Blackhole: Honestly, it’s almost not even worth applying after ~10 days. On average, in the Resume Blackhole, any one job application has a ~1.5% of getting an interview. Put another way, if you send out 50 job applications, you might hear back from one (if you’re lucky).

Why? This is a well-known phenomenon internally that we’ve been seeing for months at TalentWorks, but it fundamentally comes down to the psychology of hiring managers. If you’re an employer posting a job, you need someone for that job. And you probably need that person ASAP.

Logical or not, if you’re that hiring manager, you’re probably going to give it a few days for enough applications to come in and then look to see if there are any good applicants. If there are, hooray! You’ll interview a few folks, give one an offer, and then probably forget all about your job posting. (One reason why resume blackholes exist.) If there isn’t anyone good enough, you’ll probably make a mental note to check back again in a few days (the Twilight Zone).

From your (the job-seeker’s) perspective, it’s no bueno if your job application doesn’t arrive before that employer checks his inbox for the first time. Every hour and every day counts.

To summarize: Timing matters. A lot. You’re up to 8 times more likely to get an interview if you apply in the first 96 hours that a job is posted.