The Employment Situation for June 2022
Published On: June 6, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from May 2022 that was published in June 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The U.S. unemployment rate remained steady at 3.6% for the third consecutive month; this is not only a testament to economic stability despite inflationary pressure, but also marks an almost 50-year historic low.
Once again, employers exceeded expectations, adding 390,000 new jobs to their payrolls over the month. This is likely a reflection of the continuing surge in demand for goods and services, as well as the continuing–though improving–supply chain issues driving inflation.
The leisure and hospitality industry claimed the lion’s share of the new jobs, with more than 80,000 employees added to payrolls. The professional and business services industries reported 75,000 new jobs, with education (both public and private) close behind at about 70,000. What’s more, transportation and warehousing claimed 47,000 new jobs, while construction added 36,000; healthcare employees grew by 28,000; and the mining industries increased their ranks by 18,000.
The only industry that saw its total number of jobs decrease over the month was retail, which lost a little over 60,000 jobs. Despite the contraction over the month, however, the total number of retail employees on U.S. payrolls includes 160,000 more people than in February of 2020. In this respect, retail is in better shape than industries like leisure and hospitality that have not yet fully recouped their pandemic losses.
Beyond the continuing job growth, the tight labor market, and the retail dip, the story of the latest economic report was little changed from the month prior.
Interestingly, one of the few areas which continues to show significant movement is the percentage of U.S. workers who reported telecommuting at some point over the month, which dropped by 0.3% from 7.6% down to 7.3%. Only three months ago, that figure was 13%, highlighting just how quickly employees are either returning to onsite work or having their remote work formalized.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
Almost 97% of the jobs lost during the pandemic have been regained during the past 17 months of consecutive job growth. In just about any context, these economic figures can only be interpreted as very positive.
That said, this report does supply a couple data pieces that could be interpreted as a cause for concern.
The best piece of evidence in support of those predicting a potential economic downturn might be the nearly 300,000 workers whose hours were cut to part-time over the month. Given that this subset of workers is approximately the same size as it was immediately prior to the pandemic, these figures may represent correction toward the equilibrium rather than a turn for the worse.
Similarly, average hourly wages rose by 0.3%. This figure was slightly below expectations, but average wages were still up by more than 5% over the year; what’s more, the reality is that monetary policies implemented to slow inflation will naturally slow wage growth.
Six months to a year from now, the economic picture may look somewhat different than it does now, but continued stability and growth are more likely than not.
Eager for more exclusive content? Check out the Mployer Advisor blog, or review last month’s employment numbers here. Plus, don’t miss the latest episode of Mployer Advisor’s new podcast “This Week in Benefits.”
Director of Content, Mployer Advisor