Editor’s Note: This report is based on survey data from January 2022 that was published in February 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
In an encouraging sign of economic strength, almost 500,000 new jobs were reported in the U.S. last month, which more than doubled the number of new jobs initially reported in the two prior months.
In what has become a predictable pattern, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) incorporated newly revised statistics to account for more than 700,000 previously unreported new jobs.
Considering the approximate 400,000 new jobs initially reported over the previous two months, the upward revisions amount to a more than 257% increase/correction (on average) over those initially underestimated numbers. If the latest jobs numbers–as reported initially–warrant a similar upward revision in the coming months, it is possible that last month’s added jobs could exceed 1.2 million.
However, despite the considerable number of newly added jobs, the unemployment rate did tick back up to 4%, signaling a resurgence of reentrants into the labor market. It is also worth noting that more than 6 million people (almost double the month prior) reported reduced work last month, citing closed or lost business due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, as Omricon cases continue to fall, this number will likely experience a proportionate decline in the coming weeks.
Regarding new jobs figures, the leisure and hospitality industry continues to see the most significant gains, claiming over 150,000 in the latest report. New gains aside, the industry’s numbers remain low, down nearly 10% from pre-pandemic levels.
The professional and business services and retail industries combined for another 150,000 jobs as well, with transportation and warehousing, local government, education, and healthcare collectively accounting for about another 100,000.
Although no industries saw significant decreases in total jobs figures last month, several industries remained unchanged, including mining, construction, and manufacturing.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
Despite a fair amount of decreased business activity, employers continued to ramp up hiring while proactively limiting the turnover of current employees. Still, it is difficult to know whether this show of optimism is warranted, with the constant threat of pandemic-related disaster looming menacingly overhead.
Still, approximately 20% of states are currently experiencing record-low unemployment rates; what’s more, the U.S. unemployment rate is experiencing its sharpest annual decline in history. When weighing the adjusted size of the workforce, the U.S. also added more jobs last year than in any year since the late 1970s. With such compelling data, some measure of optimism is certainly well-founded.