The Employment Situation for April 2022
Published On: April 4, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from March 2022 that was published in April 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
With over 430k new jobs added last month, the latest report about the state of the economy is unequivocally good. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2% down to 3.6%, which is the lowest it’s been since the pandemic emerged in March 2020.
In fact, 3.6% matches the unemployment rate reported in December 2019, just a few months prior to the onset of the pandemic in the U.S., further illustrating–with all the necessary caveats–that the economic recovery is complete.
Complete recovery, however, does not mean that every economic metric has fully returned to pre-pandemic levels. Any ground regained has not been evenly distributed geographically, demographically, or across industries either; as such, the shape of the economy will naturally look different pre-pandemic vs. post-pandemic.
For example, the number of people categorized as long-term unemployed includes a little over 300k more people today (at 1.4 million) than it did immediately prior to the pandemic.
Consider that the group of long-term unemployed was reduced by almost 275k people last month alone. If this pace continues, then it is likely that pre-pandemic levels will be met or exceeded in a month’s time.
Another metric that has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels is the total number of people who had not been in the workforce the prior month but now would like to find a job. These people numbered around 5 million before the pandemic and currently sit around 5.7 million.
Teleworking continued downward last month as well, dropping from 13% to 10% of workers whose pandemic-related employment situation required them to work remotely at least part of the time. The number of people reporting lost work or business due to the pandemic plummeted by almost 60% from 4.2 million to 2.5 million.
While several industries remained essentially unchanged month to month, such as government, mining, information, transportation and warehousing, most industries saw growth. The professional and business services industry added just over 100k jobs, retail added just under 50k jobs, and manufacturing added just under 40k new jobs.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
Over the past two years, the discussion surrounding the economy has understandably centered around the pandemic. However, continuing to only view the current state of the economy through this lens misses the bigger picture.
Consider that the current unemployment rate of 3.6% is the third lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years. Not only has the economy recovered, but also it is 0.1% away from hitting the lowest rate since 1969. Additionally, the latest report marks the 11th consecutive month in which more than 400k new jobs were added.
Viewed with this framing, the symmetry of the ‘V-shaped’ recovery becomes even more impressive, especially considering how historically strong the labor market was immediately before the pandemic and the initial unprecedented descent. That these extremes were nearly mirrored in the speed and degree of the subsequent recovery is remarkable indeed.
Director of Content, Mployer Advisor