As part of the gradual return to (a new) normal routine, businesses are starting to reopen, and it has recently been reported that restaurants and other workplaces are failing to recruit new employees.

One of the tools for examining the situation in the employment market is job vacancies. According to a survey of job vacancies conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2019 the accommodation and food sector had 15,200 job vacancies (on average). A vacancy is a job for which the workplace is looking for an employee, and thus the number of vacancies is an index of demand for employees. The number of job vacancies a given sector is derived from the size of the sector, the dynamics of employment in it, and the growth (or decline) in this industry. The Covid year was disastrous for most sectors, and the average number of vacancies fell in all of them. The largest declines in 2020 were recorded in food and accommodation, where there was a decrease of 71%, from 15,200 to 4,400 vacancies on an annual average; and arts, entertainment and leisure, where there was a decrease of 62%.

The smallest decreases were recorded in the health, welfare and welfare industries (-18%); Information and Communication (-23%); and construction (also – 23%).

The recovery is clearly reflected in the vacancy picture of March 2021. In all sectors except education, there is an increase compared to the average in 2020, and in most of them the number of job vacancies is also higher than the average in 2019. The number of vacancies in the accommodation and food sector in March 2021 is 21,700, a 390% increase from the average in 2020, and 42% compared to the average in 2019. Other sectors in which the increase is dramatic are art entertainment and recreation (+200% compared to 2020); commerce (+130%); and transportation, storage and mail services (+120%). Three industries (professional, scientific and technical services and real estate; construction; finance and insurance) recorded an increase, but did not reach the average level of 2019. The number of job vacancies in the education sector continued to decline in March 2021.

The industries in which the increase in the number of job vacancies is particularly sharp are characterized by a large number of temporary and unprofessional jobs. It can be assumed that some of the sharp increase in vacancies is explained by the lack of motivation of employees who lost their job and were sent to an unpaid leave, to return to work. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the vacancy rate level crossed the 2019 average, sometimes by a substantial gap.