December 3, 2021 by Rucha Vankudre, Clare Coffey
The new Employment Situation Report has heads spinning. In November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy only added two hundred and ten thousand jobs. That’s sobering and dramatically below expectations of over five hundred thousand new jobs, even if unemployment did decline slightly.
It’s worth noting that over the past few months, original employment situation numbers have been revised up.
But one clear takeaway is that employers are fighting for talent. While postings are slightly down, they haven’t dropped to the degree we’d expect if an employer hiring freeze were to blame for November’s low numbers.
One piece of evidence that supports this thesis is the slight increase in hourly wages. Wages are up an average of eight cents an hour. In Transportation and Warehousing, the increase is just over 1%.
A new report from Emsi Burning Glass in partnership with The Conference Board offers some further confirmation of the trends we’re seeing. The report found that employers are competing for a historically small talent pool by lowering educational requirements, increasing wages, and offering hiring bonuses. These competitive measures are particularly pronounced in manual, non-degree areas like Construction and Transportation and Warehousing.
And in fact, in November, Construction was one of the few industries to increase postings. (Information,with a 14% increase, was the clear leader in posting.)
In terms of total jobs, Transportation and Warehousing had the second highest gains.
And over-optimistic expectations notwithstanding, it’s not all bad news. We’ve gained back 83% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, while labor force participation increased to 61.8%.
Unemployment overall is down .4 percentage points, to 4.2%
And if competition for talent continues unabated, lowered barriers to entry and increasing incentives will, hopefully, lure even more workers off the sidelines.