The latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tells a two-sided story.
On the one hand, the U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, up from 278,000 jobs added in April. And more than half of those hires were in the leisure and hospitality (restaurants, bars, hotels, gambling establishments, etc.) sector, which was hit especially hard by the pandemic. These are both pieces of good news.
However, the overall number of jobs is still about 5 percent behind the total from February 2020, right before the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. And predictions that the economy would be adding roughly 1 million new jobs per month by now are missing the mark.
So what’s happening? In a nutshell, while many companies are aggressively posting openings and recruiting new employees, many workers are simply not that interested.
I wrote before about a handful of reasons that potential employees may be choosing not to return to work, and many of those same factors seem to be in play. For some, unemployment benefits that were enhanced amid the pandemic remain a better option than taking a job. For others, concerns over lingering health risks associated with public-facing jobs are still very real.
Both of these issues could soon fade away — many states are rolling back unemployment benefits, and fears over getting sick should continue to subside as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19.
As this plays out, will we see the new jobs report get closer to that predicted mark of 1 million per month? It’s possible, and this type of hiring will put increased pressure on HR and mobility teams to help their organizations sift through all the candidates and find the best new employees. Using mobility to find high-potential people — and then keep them engaged and growing once they’re within your company — will be as important as ever if job growth takes the next step forward.
Not long ago, economists were predicting job growth of closer to a million positions per month, given the rapid reopening of pandemic-affected businesses around the country. These businesses are indeed ramping up, and seeking workers, but a lot of their job openings appear to be going unfilled.