Micron data signals hiring disruption from global pandemic
Chipmaking companies may be poised to weather the Coronavirus recession well, thanks to their critical part in smartphones' construction - and Micron ($NYSE:MU) shares have fared better than a lot of other stocks in 2020's market turmoil.
It's unclear whether the drop in job postings at Micron is tied to the global pandemic that has virtually halted growth in so many critical industries, from airlines and aerospace, to hotels and the oil and gas business. However, it suffered a steep - and clear - drop in job postings beginning in early 2019 as the US and China ramped up their trade war up against one another.
Micron's most recent earnings presentation came in late December, so its earnings call on March 25 will provide some of the first windows into executives' mindset around how the Coronavirus outbreak impacted its business both globally, and in China, where supply chains and markets are beginning to recover from the pandemic. Globally, job postings at Micron have bounced back 70% from 2019 lows, but they're down 6.2% in recent weeks - possibly a sign of a stall as countries all around the world try to battle the pandemic.
Part of Micron's strength comes from the dependability of one of its primary buyers, Apple, which uses the components Micron manufactures in its phones. And although the number of job postings in China is effectively flat so far in 2020, it's notably higher than in previous years, a sign that the resolution of the trade war is benefitting manufacturers depending on Chinese supply chains.
Analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS of $0.31 from Micron; shares have fallen 24% in 2020 - a substantial decline, but certainly not among loss leaders.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.