That's the good news. The bad news: It's already starting to decline.

By Grace Donnelly
September 22, 2017

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have attracted a lot of interest from jobseekers, according to data Indeed.com.

The number of searches for terms like “fema”, “disaster”, and “hurricane” were up 57 times their normal volume as people looked for ways to support the Hurricane Irma recovery in Florida and Hurricane Harvey recovery in Texas.

“This trend tells us that many job seekers realized early on that there may be need for workers to assist in recovery efforts,” said Daniel Culbertson, an economist at Indeed.com.

But interest in the hurricane recovery jobs has already started to decline.

“We found that the rise in demand for workers to fill these recovery-related positions has outlived the immediate job seeker reaction to the storms,” Culbertson said.

Both searches for positions by job seekers and posts for recovery jobs by employers spiked after the hurricanes, but job searches returned to closer to pre-storm levels while the number of posts remains elevated.

“The types of jobs we see from employers are in a number of areas,” Culbertson said. “They include positions directly related to rebuilding such as ‘disaster recovery manager,’ ‘cleaner,’ and ‘technician.’ But there’s also demand for more service positions around the disaster, such as ‘customer service representative,’ ‘laborer,’ and ‘Americorps member.’”

Most job seekers are in neighboring states, but some job seekers are at least considering traveling quite far for these roles. Indeed noted that Wyoming jobseekers have been looking for positions to support the Hurricane Irma recovery and South Carolina residents have been looking for jobs that support the Hurricane Harvey recovery in Texas.

As you might expect, Texas and Florida have the highest number of job openings, but 61% of disaster recovery postings are spread out through the other 48 states.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left between $100 and $200 billion worth of damage in their wakes. Recovery efforts will be long and skilled labor shortages in the construction industry will make rebuilding especially expensive.

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