Free ConsultationSchedule a meeting for insights on your digital marketing.

Schedule a Meeting

Which industries still use Craigslist for recruiting? Are the listings more popular in cities or certain parts of the country? Nearly a decade older than Facebook and Indeed, Craigslist looks like a time capsule of 1990’s internet forums. Job openings are the most expensive type of post on Craigslist, costing from $10 to $75 dollars, depending on the location. Employers and recruiters continue to invest in Craigslist posts, particularly when looking for blue collar and service industry workers. Big cities have a higher posting cost and number of posts, but Craigslist remains popular in many rural areas, considering the difference in population.

Sustained investment on Craigslist, particularly in Healthcare, indicates a recruiting market with a low cost and limited competition. Job seekers can easily see if their industry has little-to-no activity on Craigslist. Anecdotally, To Exceed has filled thousands of job openings over the years by advertising on Craigslist, but the results vary noticeably in different locations. This whitepaper gives a national snapshot of recruiting activity on Craigslist in the summer of 2023.


Craigslist was started in the San Francisco Bay Area, and today the Bay Area has the highest cost ($75) per job post. At the beginning of June, a total of 6,787 job posts were listed in the San Francisco Bay Area, suggesting that more than $509,000 was spent over the month of May. Employers that use Craigslist can pay to re-post the same ads and stay near the top of listings, so the totals of job posts include repetitions of the same jobs. Remote workers and OTR drivers can be recruited across wide regions, so an employer may post the same job in multiple locations. In other words, the number of posts in a location doesn’t always correspond to the number of unique, local job openings or employers. Continued recruiting on Craigslist indicates that employers find the platform effective for recruiting in those industries.


To survey the current trends in Craigslist job listings, To Exceed looked at the listings for over 400 locations across the United States. Craigslist provides numbers for the top five job categories as well as the total number of job posts. Logged in the first week of June, these numbers should reflect a majority of jobs posted during the month of May. (Job posts typically remain visible for 30 days, but some may have been removed after openings were filled.)

Out of 30 job possible categories, only the five most popular categories in each location were counted. In some locations, the top two categories have a similar share of the total posts. In each local listing, the top two or three categories usually represent a majority of posts in that area. The top job category has an average of 194 posts, and the fifth category has an average of 36. Overall, focusing on the top five categories was sufficient to sort more than 75% of posts at the time selected. Seasonal demand can be expected to vary over time, and this study only represents data from May of 2023.

Craigslist Job Posts by Category

Overall, the top job categories were blue collar positions in transportation, general labor, and skilled trades. Service industry positions in food/beverage/hospitality also made up a significant part of recruiting activity on Craigslist. After the “sales” and “healthcare” categories, a smaller but still significant number of jobs were posted under customer service, et cetera, admin/office, and manufacturing. During posting, employers can choose to post the same job in multiple categories for added visibility, which highlights how the categories overlap. The full posting price is multiplied according to the number of categories selected, reducing the likelihood of posters choosing irrelevant categories.

image description
Created with Datawrapper

Based on Craigslist's reputation, employers may assume that the platform is only useful for entry level positions and unskilled laborers, but the majority of these positions require some combination of certifications and professional experience. Most jobs in the transportation category require a CDL, but some involve chauffeur or delivery driver work. Jobs in the food/beverage/hospitality category might include line cooks, fast food workers, bartenders and management positions. Many of these industries feature a high level of turnover. Job seekers who browse Craigslist may be willing to quit their current position for the right opportunity.

National Trends in Craigslist Recruiting

Looking across the United States, bigger cities clearly attract higher numbers of Craigslist posts. Top job categories follow regional trends. Major coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego are dominated by the food/beverage/hospitality category. Eastern and southern parts of the country have a higher percentage of transportation jobs, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. General labor is the most popular category in Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, and Miami.

It makes intuitive sense that the central and eastern states would be popular with CDL recruiting, especially in rural areas. OTR and regional drivers can be recruited from anywhere near their driving lanes. A relatively large number of recruiters and trucking companies evidently believe that Craigslist is still a viable place to find truck drivers.

Craigslist has attractive features for workers who are willing or expecting to relocate with their next job. With Craigslist, a driver, laborer, or line cook can easily browse for jobs in different locations. Job seekers can enter a number of miles and zip code to search within a circle on a map. Craigslist adds nearby job listings to the end of job searches. Considering the low cost of rural posts and the itinerancy of many Craigslist users, incentives like a relocation bonus could attract new talent from farther away.

Comparing Urban and Rural Craigslist

It’s well and good to observe trends across cities, but how does urban Craigslist compare to more rural areas? City jobs are pretty self-explanatory, even when they target remote workers and commuters. Rural areas are harder to define. Cenla or Central Louisiana, for example, covers the amorphous territory between Lafayette, Shreveport, Lake Charles, and Monroe. The whole of Cenla isn’t exactly “rural,” since it includes Alexandria, Natchitoches, Pineville, and other small cities. Rather than trying to define the population of overlapping locations, we compared urban and rural states.

            image description          
                Created with Datawrapper            

New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states, with 1,283 residents per square mile. With over 6,000 posts in a month, New Jersey has around 6.5 posts per 10,000 residents. Wyoming is one of the most rural states with 5.98 residents per square mile. Wyoming’s paltry 230 posts might look like a ghost town compared to Central New Jersey, but the gap isn't as wide when adjusted for the population difference. Even so, with less than 4 posts per 10,000 residents, Wyoming is one of the least popular areas for employers to advertise on Craigslist.

It makes sense that Craigslist would be a better investment in bigger and more urban places, where more residents are likely to view posts. The most densely populated Craigslist location, Washington D.C., also had the highest number of job posts per capita. Employers in the DC area recruit from a wider region of potential commuters and transplants, not just current residents of the district (only 68 square miles). Rural locations require a cautious approach from recruiters on Craigslist, since they’re generally cheaper for posting, but rural job seekers may not bother checking the listings in areas with little-to-no activity.

Most Popular States for Craigslist

Relative to its population, Wyoming doesn’t have many job posts per month, but other sparsely populated states like Alaska and Montana have dramatically higher levels of Craigslist recruiting per capita. The densely populated capital, Washington D.C. has an impressive 39.5 job posts per 10,000 residents. Most states fall somewhere in the range between 5 and 10 monthly posts per 10,000 residents, bottoming out in Mississippi and Nebraska. Craigslist presumably uses the price in posting to help level out those trends, encouraging regional employers to post outside of the big cities.

image description
Created with Datawrapper

Within the less popular states like Nebraska, big cities like Omaha still have a lot of activity. For both job seekers and employers, there needs to be a critical mass of ongoing activity to make the listings worthwhile. Employers need to see ROI to continue paying for posts, and job seekers need to see jobs in their industry to continue browsing and applying. The posting volume is only one metric, but it’s a strong indicator of continued usefulness in recruiting.


To Exceed has found that Craigslist is still a popular recruiting platform across several industries. The distribution between service industry and laborer jobs isn’t surprising, but it’s remarkable how different cities have attracted more activity in certain categories. The relatively low cost per post makes Craigslist an attractive platform for employers looking to try a new (or old-school) recruiting channel. There’s likely a problem of critical mass, where skilled job seekers are unlikely to look on Craigslist if their industry hasn’t traditionally posted on the platform, but Craigslist could offer a broader recruiting pool to companies that don’t need workers with a highly specialized background.

Other variables warrant further study. For example, how do these numbers change over time and annually? Is Craigslist relatively stable or gradually declining in popularity? As with other websites, the cost per lead on Craigslist would vary widely depending on the industry and the content of the post itself.