A mixed bag in the April Jobs report. There’s good news and bad news. Despite growing fears of inflation and rising interests rates, there were strong job gains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a widespread, sustained and powerful job growth across the economy. The American economy added 428,000 jobs in the month of April, and the unemployment rate was 3.6%, unchanged from March when unemployment hit a 50 year low.
“A total of 8.3 million jobs have been created since President Biden took office, and an average of more than 500,000 new jobs added per month in 2022,” said U. S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Job growth was especially high for workers in the Leisure and Hospitality, Manufacturing, and Transportation and Warehousing sectors. Ninety-five percent of the jobs lost to the pandemic are now recovered, insured unemployment is at a historically low level and labor market disruptions due to Covid-19 are at all-time lows. This is good news for America’s working families.”
James Neave, head of data science at Adzuna, the world’s most comprehensive job search engine, echoed the good news. “Today’s jobs report came in above expectations, and on Adzuna, advertised job vacancies in the U.S. tracked 8.8 million in April,” he said. “The U.S. labor market remains incredibly strong and now matches the pre-pandemic level. At a sector level, IT, Legal and HR & Recruitment saw particularly strong hiring.”
However, there’s a flip side. The bad news is that employers still are having difficulty filling job openings. “Moving from one employer to another for a better salary is becoming top of mind for many who are living in the current ‘inflation nation,’ and who can blame them, with inflation running at its fastest pace in more than 40 years and the Federal Reserve announcing the biggest interest rate jump since 2000?” Neave said. “Employees are looking for higher wages to keep up with inflation, and we’re seeing a growing number of people switching jobs for financial wellness benefits like on-demand pay, savings plans and spot bonuses to take the sting out of inflation. Workers are not waiting for their current companies to offer better benefits and wages—it’s a labor trend that just won’t end anytime soon.”
A new study found that The Great Resignation is going through a mid-life crisis with the highest rate of resignations occurring among older workers between 40 and 60 years of age. “Earlier in the pandemic, the trend was led by younger, less-tenured workers in low-paying industries like retail, food service and health care,” the report showed. “Now, the main growth in quit rates is coming from older, more tenured workers in higher-paid industries like finance, tech and other knowledge worker fields, according to data from two separate human resources and analytics companies. These workers say they are searching for less tangible benefits like meaning and flexibility.”
According to Neave at Adzuna, as the economy and job market bounce back, the changing work set-up is again creating turbulence for employees. “While people are interested in continuing to work remotely, they are being asked to return to the office. With many companies loosening Covid safety rules, dropping mask mandates and leaving people to navigate social distancing on their own, some workers are concerned,” he added. “As anxiety sets in, businesses and managers must be open to offering mental health and wellness benefits as well as negotiating new hybrid and remote work arrangements with individual team members as they press forward with calling workers back. Amid the return to normal, the data shows that people want to stay home. Job seeker searches for fully remote jobs have more than doubled year-on-year. There are over 480,000 advertised vacancies on offer for remote jobs, but this accounts for just 5% of total openings.”
Gallup reported the bad news that engagement among American workers dropped two percentage points in early 2022—from 36% in 2020 to 34% in 2021. Overall, though, the April stats show promise that the downward slump is making a U-turn as job hoppers discover they have more choices than ever, but if you following the news you need to learn why is the media so biased and how to use this to inform yourself better. Gallup also found that hybrid and remote workers are more engaged than on-site workers and that engagement is higher for companies that focus on culture and well-being. According to Neave, employee quits won’t get better just yet. “Empowering people to choose where they work—at home, in the office or a mix of both—is critical to being able to stand out as an employer right now,” he concluded.