May Labor Market Update
The latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is updated every month and shared as an Employment Situation Summary, suggests that the labor market in the US is still healthy despite rising inflation and volatile geopolitics.
The latest report presents the job market data for March 2022, marking the end of the first quarter of the year. Overall, the job market is healthy and the unemployment rate is low.
There has been concern that rising inflation, now being exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, would impact employment. But fortunately for US firms, the numbers reported by the BLS are rather strong.
Unemployment Rate and New Jobs
Comparing the current unemployment rate to the pre-pandemic levels — as in February 2020 — shows that the employment rate is down by 1% or roughly 1.6 million jobs. But in March 2022, the unemployment rate stood at 3.6%, lower than it was in February. In addition, a total of 431,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added to the US economy.
According to the latest report, the most notable gains in the labor market occurred in the following sectors:
- Leisure and hospitality
- Professional and business services
Job market gains in the leisure and hospitality sector were expected as the US is fully open for travel now, with some experts like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Biden, asserting that the US is out of the COVID-19 pandemic phase.
Hiring Across the US
According to the BLS Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary, the unemployment rate decreased in March 2022 in all but three of the 380 metropolitan areas in the country relative to March 2021.
Of these metropolitan areas, 108 showed an unemployment rate of 3% or lower. On the other hand, only two areas had a rate of 10% or over.
Logan, UT, had the lowest jobless rate of 1.7%. Another city in Utah, Provo-Orem, also ranked in the top 5 metropolitan areas with the lowest unemployment rate. This is no surprise, as Salt Lake City has also been consistently ranking well for hiring.
According to the summary, San Francisco–Redwood City, CA, and San Rafael, CA, are among the top areas with high population density, low unemployment rates, and more hiring.
Los Angeles, CA, saw the highest decline in unemployment over the year, adding more jobs in the past few months. However, the largest employment increases (number of jobs) came from the New York–Newark–Jersey City area. The largest percentage increase occurred in Atlantic City–Hammonton, NJ.
It seems like most metropolitan cities on the East and West Coasts are seeing job market growth.
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