Unpaid federal workers looking for new jobs on Indeed.com

By Irina Ivanova

/ MoneyWatch

Furloughed workers living paycheck to paycheck

Federal workers locked out of their jobs in the partial government shutdown are doing more than taking out personal loans or trying to raise funds online. More and more of them are looking for a different job altogether.

Job searches on Indeed, the hiring website, have increased among workers at the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, three of the largest departments that are un-funded in the current shutdown. TSA workers, many of whom have been calling out sick, are looking for jobs at a 30 percent higher rate than in recent years.

(Indeed measured clicks on job posting as an index, where 100 means that a particular group of workers is searching for jobs at the same rate as all Indeed users.)

Irina Ivanova/CBS MoneyWatch

At the IRS, where nearly 46,000 workers have been asked to work without pay for the tax-filing season that begins Jan. 28, job searches started going up dramatically in December. They're now 50 percent higher than they were this time last year. Job searches from workers at Health and Human Services, which houses the Food and Drug Administration and the Indian Health Service, have shot up even more, rising 80 percent over their level this time of year in the last two years.

indeed-hhs-irs.png

The data don't mean federal workers have found new jobs, cautioned Martha Gimbel, research director at the Indeed Hiring Lab, but it means that the number of people looking for work, whether casually or seriously, is dramatically higher.

"This shutdown is injecting volatility into a sector that had been appealing to a lot of people because it's secure. A lot of people are now thinking, 'what is my future in this industry?' We won't know the answer to that for a while," she said.

The dissatisfaction is even moving to departments unaffected by the shutdown, Gimbel said, citing preliminary data.

"When the shutdown first happened, for workers who were still being paid, it wasn't impacting their job search behavior," she said. But those workers became more likely to search for other jobs the longer the shutdown went on, though not as much as workers who aren't being paid.

Not paying its workforce is also affecting the government's ability to hire. Applications for federal jobs on Glassdoor have dropped 46 percent below where they were one year ago, said Daniel Zhao, a senior data scientist at the job-review and hiring site. Given that the federal government hires about 30,000 people every month, that drop translates into a significant decline in numbers.

On Glassdoor, searches from workers at shuttered agencies spiked 10 percent after Jan. 11, the date they missed their first paycheck, said Zhao. "We're seeing it across a wide variety of roles. People are looking for new jobs–anything from an administrative assistant to mechanical engineers."

First published on January 24, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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