NEW YORK (CNN) — Economists closely watch the monthly US jobs report for signs of cracks in the labor market that could signal the start of a recession. But their predictions have been put to the test month-on-month with higher-than-expected growth.
Last month’s report was no exception.
Entrepreneurs created 339,000 new jobs in May, more than the 190,000 forecast by economists.
Employers are hiring more workers every month from January 2021. It came as more parts of the economy gradually reopened after months of shutdown.
In 2021, employers create an average of 606,000 jobs per month. These gains narrowed somewhat in 2022, with an average of 399,000 jobs added per month. This number continues to decline this year, but it is still impressively high at 314,000 median monthly income.
Overall, 3.7 million more people were out of work last month than in February 2020, before the pandemic caused major disruptions to the US economy.
While many industries like transportation and warehousing have brought back all their workers — and more — some industries are still struggling to bring back all the workers they lost due to the pandemic.
labor shortage sectors
There are four big sectors of the economy that now employ fewer workers than before the pandemic.
The leisure and hospitality sector is the sector with the largest labor shortage, with a shortfall of 349,000 people; That is, 2% of the total workforce before the pandemic.
At the peak of the pandemic, workers in the leisure and hospitality sector suffered the most redundancies of all sectors, as venues were closed during the lockdown. But even though restaurants, bars and entertainment venues were allowed to reopen and people slowly started traveling again, workers didn’t seize the opportunity to get their old jobs back.
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Instead, people found jobs in different industries that paid more and reduced their exposure to people, said Jim McCoy, senior vice president of talent solutions at ManpowerGroup, a leading staffing company.
“We’ve seen a huge conversion of people working in restaurants to working from home,” McCoy said. He said many of these workers found remote employment in call centers and have remained employed ever since.
The second biggest shortage of workers is in public jobs.
Where the jobs are: These are the industries that are hiring (and firing) in America.
This sector covers a wide range of jobs, including health and postal services workers. But within that sector, the biggest shortage of staff comes from public school teachers.
There were 118,000 fewer teachers nationwide last month than in February 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Like workers in the leisure and hospitality sectors, many teachers quit their jobs fearing it would put them at a higher risk of contracting Covid.
“We’re not seeing people coming back into the workforce fast enough in other sectors to be able to get some of those jobs back,” McCoy told CNN. Despite the shortfall, it took longer for public teaching jobs to increase pay than in other sectors due to state and local budget constraints.
But this has recently begun to change.
“Over the past year and a half we have seen school districts and universities make some progress in terms of pay reform to keep up with the cost of living of their employees,” McCoy said.