The United States economy and job market are growing strong. Last week, we saw nearly one million new jobs were added in the U.S. Now, a record-setting 10.1 million jobs are available, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report.
As states reopened and Covid-19-related mandates relaxed, hiring boomed. The growth in job creation was most abundant in the once-hardest-hit sectors, such as restaurants, bars, hospitality, leisure and travel.
Ironically, the good news created a new problem: businesses can’t find employees due to the huge increase in demand for workers. To compete for talent, companies are raising wages, offering sign-on bonuses and even paying for college tuition.
It’s hard to hold onto workers with so many jobs available. The “Great Resignation” movement is based, in part, on workers seeing all of the available opportunities and feeling comfortable and confident in quitting their jobs to find a better one. There are severe labor shortages in a number of industries. Enhanced unemployment benefits, childcare challenges, concerns over Covid-19 and the surging Delta variant contribute to potential job seekers staying on the sidelines. Some economists believe that if the public schools reopen in the fall, it should help ameliorate this situation.
All is not perfect. There is an uncomfortably large number of people who are long-term unemployed. Also, the U.S. has 9.2 million individuals who are underemployed, want full-time work, but can only get part time jobs and those who have just given up and forsaken their job searches.
This report tracks data collected before the sudden surge in the new Delta variant. We will have to see how this impacts hiring. Major corporations, including Google, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Twitter, have pushed back their return-to-office programs, due the the new strain of the virus.
Top-tier investment bank Goldman Sachs contends that this positive trend of job growth will continue. Jan Hatzius, an economist at the bank, predicts that the unemployment rate will continue to fall. Hatzius feels it will be about 4.1% in 2021 and then fall to 3.5% in 2022. This would bring us back to the 50- year record lows of unemployment.
The Goldman economist optimistically said, “We expect further solid job gains in the rest of the year. One reason is that labor demand remains very strong. We also see further scope for fairly quick job gains from additional reopening, the expiration of federal unemployment benefits and the return of in-person school.”