According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released February 1st, 2022), the number of job openings was little changed at 10.9 million available jobs. On the other side, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.0 percent in January.
Over the past year, the unemployment rate decreased by 2.4 percentage points, decreasing the number of unemployed individuals by 3.7 million, from 10.8 million unemployed to 6.5 million. Comparatively, new job openings have remained above 10 million from the last half of the year, with 10.9 million job openings by December of 2021. With 10.9 available jobs and 6.5 million unemployed, there’s much to question regarding the increase in the unemployment rate.
While the quit rate edged down in December of 2021 compared to November’s all-time high of 3%, the quit rate still remains at 2.9% with a total of 4.3 million quits. Many are calling this “The Great Resignation” as employees across the nation are quitting their jobs. According to an article from INSIDER, “65% of Gen Zers plan to join the Great Resignation this year”.
Over the last year, as employers continue to combat wage demands and turnover, pay rates have increased by 5.7%. In January of 2022, average hourly earnings for all employees increased by 23 cents to $31.63. The average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees also rose by 17 cents to $26.92. We can only expect to see these continue to increase as more and more employees join the Great Resignation.
Over the past few months, professional and business services have continued to see an upward trend in growth. With 86,000 jobs added in January, this trend is looking positive for this industry. The most notable gains occurred in employment and temporary help services with 26,000 jobs added, followed by technical consulting services with 16,000 jobs added. Employment in professional and business services is one of the few industries that has seen an increase from its pre-pandemic levels with 511,000 more employed than in February of 2020, largely in temporary help services with 185,000 more employed than in February of 2020.
Other notable changes occurred in some industries as follows:
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022a, February). JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2021. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022b, February). THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JANUARY 2021. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf