U.S. jobs data have witnessed the biggest monthly gain since July 2021. Nonfarm payrolls grew by 678,000 for February 2022. Moreover, unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent.

Unemployment stands at 3.8%

Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics posted the latest employment numbers last week. The employment is finally reaching pre-pandemic numbers and the grip of coronavirus over the U.S. economy is finally weakening. Non-farm payroll jobs increased by more than 30% compared to January’s addition of 440,000 jobs. Moreover, the unemployment has also reduced from 3.9% to 3.8 percent during February.

Disappointing hourly wage numbers

Friday’s report showed that the average hourly earnings showed a disappointing trend. They are up by only one cent and hour or 0.03%. This is lower than the estimates of 0.5% increase in wages. The year over year increase stands at 5.13% which is well below Dow Jones estimate of 5.8% for the year.

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    The labor market of United States is getting closer to pre-pandemic levels. However, it is still short by 1.14 million. Employers are still finding it tough to hire and retain workers. Filling 10.9 million jobs is still an obstacle for employers since 2021. Importantly, the February data is confirming that the Omicron spread during winters had little effect on employment.  “This report indicates that the job market is healthy and resilient to the ebbs and flows of the pandemic. We’ve seen that job gains have been over 400,000 for 10 months in a row.” Daniel Zhao, senior economist for job placement site Glassdoor commented on the latest employment related report.

    Revival of leisure & hospitality sector employment

    Leisure and hospitality sector affected badly since the start of pandemic in early 2020 due to imposition of heavy restrictions. The jobs gap still stands at 1.5 million compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, it is on road to recovery. 179,000 new jobs were added only in leisure and hospitality. The unemployment rate also fell to 6.6% for the sector and is closer to the unemployment number of 5.7% in Feb 2022.

    In another positive sign, the number of Americans filing jobless claims fell to 215,000 as of last week. This is the lowest level since Jan. 1, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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