Washington DC, July 2, 2021 — In an encouraging burst of hiring, America’s employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.
Friday’s report from the Labor Department was the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession. Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels. And Americans’ confidence in the economic outlook has nearly fully recovered.
The result is that many businesses are desperate to hire and have posted a record-high number of jobs. With competition for workers intensifying, especially at restaurants and tourist and entertainment venues, employers are offering higher pay, along with signing and retention bonuses and more flexible hours. The proportion of job advertisements that promise a bonus has more than doubled in the past year, the employment website Indeed has found.
The unemployment rate rose from 5.8% in May to 5.9% in June, the report showed. Despite the job market’s steady improvement, unemployment remains well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck, and the economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.
But joblessness has plummeted from the 14.8% rate in April of last year, just after the coronavirus erupted and triggered tens of millions of layoffs.
The number of advertised job openings reached 9.3 million in April, the highest in 20 years of data, according to the Labor Department. The employment website Indeed has said that job postings have increased still further since then.
A temporary $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit, on top of regular state jobless aid, may be enabling some people to be more selective in looking for and taking jobs. Roughly half the states plan to stop paying the supplement by the end of July in what proponents say is an effort to nudge more of the unemployed to seek jobs.
On Thursday, the government reported that the number of people who applied for jobless aid last week fell to 364,000, the lowest level since the pandemic began.
There are also signs that people are re-evaluating their work and personal lives and aren’t necessarily interested in returning to their old jobs, particularly those that offer modest wages. The proportion of Americans who quit their jobs in April reached its highest level in more than 20 years. – AP