The U.S. job market is starting to pick up some pace in the final months of the year. After showing disappointing figures in September, U.S. jobs data showed significant improvement during October. However, doubts are still looming in wake of new COVID variant and on-going labor shortage challenge.

Healthy Employment Numbers

Economists are also very optimistic about November’s jobs data. A poll by Refinitiv is expecting a sizeable gain in jobs November’s employment report. They are expecting that another 550,000 new jobs were added during November. If these expectations hold true, this will be the biggest gain in jobs since July. More than a million jobs were added during July this year.

Despite these recent additions in jobs America’s labor market is still lagging from pre-pandemic numbers. Current data suggests that U.S. is still down by 3.5% as compared to February 2020. Meanwhile, the weekly jobless claims have also increased from last week. Last week claims increased to 220,000 after seasonal adjustments. Jobless claims dropped to 194,000 last month which was the lowest number since 1969. However, four week moving average stands at 238,750 which is at lowest levels since March 2020.

Omicron Threat

With advent of Omicron the speculation is again very high. However, its effects are yet to be determined whether it could derail the progress of the recent months. Delta variant dented the economic recovery during the summer, but its impact was less severe than expected. Economists are hoping that this new variant may not be detrimental as well.

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    Labor Shortage Challenge is Persisting

    Besides, businesses are still struggling to find staff as workers shortage is still an ongoing challenge. September data showed that United Stated had more than 10.4 million jobs openings and attrition was also a record high. This is a good situation for the workers as they have better job prospects in terms of salary and benefits. However, this is very challenging for the employers as they struggle to attract and retain worker. To attract the workers, they need to pay higher wages and offer signing bonuses.

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