Insights and Perspectives

Insights and Perspectives

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Read the latest from Geographic Solutions.

Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in October

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for October 2022 on Friday, November 4th. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market. 

Employment in the U.S. rose by 261,000 jobs. The jobs report exceeded the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 205,000. While the result is higher than expectations, it remains well within the prediction interval as new employment seems to have glided into a sub-320,000 pattern over the last three months. The forecast tied the WSJ Economist Survey which also predicted an increase of 205,000. This is the first time that GSI and WSJ predictions were exactly aligned since January 2021. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). Additionally, an indicator combining the interest rate on two-year treasury bills and the consumer price index were inserted to account for inflationary effects on the labor market.

The unemployment rate increased to 3.7%, above the Geographic Solutions and WSJ forecast of 3.5%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, unemployment applications, and job severances on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

Job creation was strongest in Education & Health Services (79,000), Professional & Business Services (39,000), and Leisure & Hospitality (35,000). Job growth was flat to positive in all industries.

While all sectors continue to grow, Leisure & Hospitality and Government are the only major sectors to remain below their pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate fell to 62.2% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment ticked up to 6.8%.

The two surveys are sending mixed messages about the labor market. The CES portrays a job market that has been steadily growing for months. However, the CPS is showing much more slack in the labor market as the number of unemployed increases, even as the labor force declines. Inflation, and the actions to contain it, are still major concerns for the labor market going forward. Private-sector wages have declined by 4.2% since February 2021, right before this accelerated inflationary period began. As the workforce demands higher wages to keep up with inflation, hiring is likely to slow and net job losses are possible.

GSI Labor Market Forecast: October 2022

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey (CPS) report for October 2022 on Friday, October 5th. Geographic Solutions, Inc. has produced forecasts of the two most closely watched macroeconomic data series from the report: the monthly change in employment and the monthly unemployment rate.

Geographic Solutions’ data is pointing to another month of solid job gains for October.  As seen in the chart below, jobs are predicted to increase in October by 205,000. Geographic Solutions derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).  Additionally, an indicator combining the interest rate on two-year treasury bills and the consumer price index were inserted to account for inflationary effects on the labor market.

Portrayed in the chart below is the 3.5% unemployment rate that Geographic Solutions forecasts for October, unmoved from its rate in September. The unemployment rate forecast uses internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, unemployment applications, and job severances on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

After the release of the report, Geographic Solutions will post a full analysis of the results.

GSI Labor Market Report: September 2022

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey (CPS) report for September 2022 on Friday, October 7th. Geographic Solutions, Inc. has produced forecasts of the two most closely watched macroeconomic data series from the report: the monthly change in employment and the monthly unemployment rate.

Geographic Solutions’ data is pointing to another month of solid job gains for September.  As seen in the chart below, jobs are predicted to increase in September by 335,000. Geographic Solutions derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).


Portrayed in the chart below is the 3.8% unemployment rate that Geographic Solutions forecasts for September, an uptick from its rate in August. The unemployment rate forecast uses internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, and job severances on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

After the release of the report, Geographic Solutions will post a full analysis of the results.

Paving The Way For Reemployment

Did you know that the employment rates in many of Connecticut’s industries are higher now than they were before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic? According to Patrick Flaherty, Director of the Office of Research at the Connecticut Department of Labor, job growth has been consistent in 2022 and the unemployment rate is down to its early 2019 level.

This upswing in job growth can be partly attributed to the state’s Jobs First Employment Services Program, or JFES. Each year since 2018, thousands of participants are referred to American Job Centers in cities throughout the region.

The JFES program’s goal is to provide employment services to families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and help parents gain skills to obtain employment. The program gauges success on several elements, including:

  • Freedom from cash assistance within the 21-month program time limit
  • Continuous employment and independent from assistance
  • Increase in basic and occupational skills, job coaching, and work experience

To be eligible for JFES, an individual must be receiving Temporary Family Assistance (TFA). Weekly participation of approximately 20 hours of employment activities is required for any person with children under the age of six, while persons with children over the age of six must participate in 30 hours.

Thanks to added flexibility in participation requirements, if participants perform at least 50% of their required hours, their TFA benefits will not be taken away. CTDOL partners with the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies (CCFSA) to aid JFES clients who struggle meeting their participation requirements through intervention and removal services.

“The CTDOL partners with other state agencies and community partners to deliver the JFES program,” said Acting Director of WIOA Administration, Erica Tew during a recent Pathways to Employment webinar. “The Connecticut Department of Social Services (CTDSS) is the agency that administers the benefits, and [partners with] the five workforce development boards that oversee the Employment and Training and case management programs.”

Operating in Covid Times

During the pandemic, the program was suspended, but virtual services were offered to customers. According to Tew, “on average, nearly half of our caseload continued to participate during this time.” In July 2021, the program was reopened and CTDSS referrals were accepted again, but with dramatic changes to the foundational rules of the program.

“We have made many changes to the JFES program over the course of the past 13 months to make it easier for clients to participate,” said JFES Unit Director, Mike Bartley. “About 33% of JFES participants performed work and have overcome significant barriers to employment.

How Do Participants Arrive at the JFES program?

The CTDOL partners with state agencies and communities to deliver the JFES program. Unlike other workforce programs, participants can’t join the program simply by walking into an American Job Center. Those taking part in the program must be referred by a state agency and receiving TFA.

“It’s similar to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training where persons receiving a particular benefit have to participate in some type of employment and training activity for a certain number of hours per week,” said Tew.

The most common referral path happens when a participant applies for benefits through the DSS. Case managers assess each applicant and refer them to their region’s JFES program orientation.

Program Innovations

Over the last few years, the JFES program has relied on several innovations to succeed.

  • Family Centered Coaching: This is an approach that helps case managers engage with the whole family, rather than just the individual participants. It takes into account that one approach does not fit all families, considering that families may address challenges in different ways. It helps to create customized solutions for each family. 
  • Financial Literacy: The second innovation was established with the Connecticut Association for human services, or CAHS, which provides financial literacy education classes. These sessions are provided to the public by a network of volunteers who have worked in the financial services industry. And these workshops denote the first introduction to the concept of saving and budgeting for many clients. 
  • Refugee Resettlement: In addition, a pilot program was launched that partners with Workforce Alliance and the Refugee Resettlement Agency. JFES case managers are embedded within families to address some of the historical issues that refugees have had in connecting to our jobs first program. Originally, multiple organizations helped the refugee and there tended to be miscommunication between them all. Placing a JFES case manager at the refugee resettlement agency has helped to cut out miscommunication and make the clients feel safe and comfortable while trying to transition into getting employment support and services.

Inspiring success stories

Geographic Solutions supports the efforts of the Connecticut Department of Labor as they provide employment services to people. Their work encourages skills gain in the name of employment, lays the groundwork financial independence. See inspirational JFES success stories by clicking here.

Arrows painted on the ground point in multiple directions while a person stands over them, deciding which way to go.

Career-seekers are spoiled for choice these days. With unlimited iterations of job titles available under the 1,016 O*NET occupation titles, it can be a daunting task to determine exactly how a person will spend the next 50 years of their life. For decades conventional wisdom held that graduating high school seniors should seek a bachelor’s degree at all costs to obtain an upwardly mobile, high-paying career. The modern world, however, is trying to establish more alternative career paths pursuable without the heavy debt often associated with traditional college or university education.

Vocational education and trade schools are all solid options to learning a skill with great earning potential and embarking on a fulfilling career.  As early as high school,  Career and Technical Education concentrators are exploring career themes of interest while learning a set of technical and employability skills for current and emerging occupations; these programs prepare students for postsecondary degrees or certificates, apprenticeships, or employment. Entrepreneurship is another option which allows an individual to capitalize on their creativity, think outside the box, establish, manage, and grow a business. Careers in the military can also be the right path for the right person. Many of these pathways, and others, may include experience through travel, self-paced and free online courses, working your way up in an organization, and more. 

Career exploration platform Virtual Career Center (VCC), designed specifically for students and those reevaluating their career paths, takes a staged approach to guiding students through self-discovery, pathway exploration, and employment preparation. VCC assesses and capitalizes on users’ skills, interests, and goals to thoughtfully point young learners to potential job options and the education and training needed for successful job placement. Ideally, the system will also create a stream of talent supplying the most in-demand occupations. 

Know Yourself

By constructing an educational roadmap to complement individualized learning and/or career plans, VCC creates a conduit for young learners to discover and connect to lifelong, interest-driven careers that do not sacrifice a living wage for an individual’s passion. Career assessment results help students better understand their strengths and align viable career paths centered on their interests, goals, values, and skills. 
Once assessment results are received, VCC introduces detailed information on best-match occupations. The system’s integrated labor market information allows users to easily identify the quality pathways that prepare learners for high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand jobs.

Know Your Options

As users drill down into the careers and occupations they want to pursue, VCC maps the occupation to postsecondary certificate and degree programs, essentially tracing the path to the starting line for the user. It also maps related occupational codes to military occupational codes to easily transition between military and civilian opportunities. Typically, some kind of postsecondary education or certification will be a critical step in working towards employment or, perhaps, towards an advanced degree.

At this stage, users are able to clearly see the routes open to them through multiple career pathways. As they refine the occupations they would like to pursue, it is posible to sort and filter their results by the amount of training or education necessary to break into a specific field. Users can explore postsecondary programs throughout their state, and locate the right program to upskill, earn credentials, and ready themselves for the occupations with which they most identify. These results will include trade schools, certification courses, or other, non-traditional options for career learning – to explore all viable options to obtain experience and knowledge.

Know the World of Work

With an ability to capture and reflect upon the essential employability skills developed while building a strong, positive work history, VCC provides a way for users to find specific work-based learning opportunities. Users can identify and pursue opportunities in entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, internship, volunteering, and more.

In addition to the experiential learning opportunities, VCC connects users to the working world by providing real-world labor market information. Users can adjust expectations based on current salary ranges and projected growth for intriguing careers and occupations. Users are given the necessary information to align their possible career with their income needs. 

Know Your Starting Point

Whatever career path is pursued by the user, the goal is to find the way to a fulfilling and sustaining career. VCC provides users with intelligent tools to conduct manual or automated job searches, compose cover letters to employers, build résumés, practice interview skills, research employer/company information, and review job market trends based on real-time labor market information.  

According to recent research, the average American will have 12 jobs across the course of their career. It would appear to be more important than ever to choose a career that not only satisfies individual passions, but also develops transferable skills. Any individuals curious about non-traditional career pathways should explore the resources and tools available in VCC and discover for themselves the best path to their future. 

Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in May

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for May 2022 on Friday, June 3rd. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market.

Employment in the U.S. rose by 390,000 jobs. The jobs report exceeded the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 205,000.  While the result is significantly higher than expectations, it remains well within the prediction interval during such a volatile period. The Wall Street Journal forecast of 328,000 was closer to the result. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

The unemployment rate remained the same at 3.6%, exactly at the Geographic Solutions forecast and above the WSJ forecast of 3.5%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 

Job creation was strongest in Leisure & Hospitality (84,000), Professional & Business Services (75,000), and Education & Health Services (74,000). Job growth was flat to positive in all industries.

 

While Manufacturing employment did not emerge past its pre-pandemic level in May as expected, the Information sector did, joining Construction; Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; and Financial Activities as one of the sectors that has recovered all jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Leisure & Hospitality employment continues to grow but is the only sector to remain more than 3% below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate increased to 62.3% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment ticked up to 7.1%.

Employment may be settling into a monthly pattern of 400,000 new jobs which can be expected to continue for a few more months. However, the labor market picture becomes murkier afterwards as consumers deplete savings accumulated from pandemic relief while wage increases are still below the rate of inflation.

2022 is designated the European Year of Youth.

In her 2021 State of the European Union address, EU President von der Leyen stated that 2022 should be a year dedicated to those who have dedicated so much to others. In a December press release that same year, the European Union (EU) announced an agreement to designate the next year as the European Year of Youth (EYY).

Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “With the 2022 European Year of Youth, we are supporting young Europeans to defend and promote freedom, values, opportunities, and solidarity. We owe it to the generations who suffered most in the pandemic and now need to take back their lives.”

The EYY is supported financially by both Erasmus+, a program to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe, and the European Solidarity Corps, a program which creates opportunities for young people to engage in solidarity activities abroad or within their own country that benefit communities. In total, nine different youth organization initiatives are plugged into the EYY, including the two mentioned previously. There is also EU Youth Dialogue, Discover EU, EU Aid Volunteers, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange, Eures, and SHEU Leads. 

The multi-faceted EYY campaign casts its gaze far into the future and provides funded opportunities for young people to take part in youth exchanges, volunteer, study, work, travel, or participate in or learn about democratic processes within the EU. Through conferences, events, and various campaigns, the EYY is engaging European youth across the continent to create a long-lasting impact and legacy. 

Coordination, Participation, and Strategy Across Europe

EU Member States were invited to appoint a national coordinator to organize their respective participation strategies. To ensure its success, young people and youth organizations were welcomed in shaping the initiative. An online survey garnered over 5,000 responses from all Member States and more than half stated their desire to actively participate in the EYY.

Another aim of the EYY is cross-sector partnerships and experiences as it builds on many EU policies. Four main objectives are outlined which reveal the underlying effort to honor, support, and engage with young people at all levels:

•    Highlighting how the green and digital transitions offer opportunities for young people
•    Helping young people to become active and engaged citizens
•    Promoting opportunities available to young people
•    Bringing a youth perspective to the Union’s policies

The initiative seeks to further inspire and refresh the outlooks of young people, with a principal goal to combat the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the EU thinks that highlighting the green agenda and digital transitions for better societies, offer opportunities for young people to positively engage this part of the population with hope for their futures.

In other words, by supporting young people — whether through youth work or other means at national, regional, or local levels— the EYY will create active and engaged citizens, including those with fewer opportunities; from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds; or those belonging to marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Therefore, many levels of EU policymaking are being promoted by mainstreaming youth policy across most relevant EU policy fields in line with the EU Youth Strategy 2019 – 2027.

Find Information, Explore Opportunities, Uncover Your Voice

To ensure success, the European Commission, the European Parliament, EU Member States, regional and local authorities, youth organizations, and young people themselves have started to come together to coordinate a range of activities for the EYY with multiple European Youth Policy Initiatives.

Young Europeans have benefitted greatly, and will continue to gain knowledge, skills, and experience for their professional and personal development to strengthen civic engagement in the EU.

How Geographic Solutions Supports Youth

Geographic Solutions supports the development of young people the world over. In the U.S., we developed the WIOA case management module to manage all U.S. federal- and state-level workforce programs. Some of our clients use this module to manage their comprehensive youth employment program which serves the young individuals who face barriers to education, training, and employment.

Geographic Solutions has thus a wealth of data and experience serving youth demographics. For a more in-depth look at how the youth are engaged by workforce development organizations, visit our Pathways to Employment page and watch the latest installment: “Preparing the Youth with Future Job Skills”. 

We also recognize the pressing need to connect the young people of today with career pathways that provide a sustainable salary, minimize student debt, and align with their passions, skills, and values. To this end, we created the Virtual Career Center, a platform shared between students, educators, and workforce development professionals that bridges the gap between educational institutions and the workforce through career pathway planning.

Geographic Solutions salutes the efforts of the EU and their Member States to uplift the young people in their countries by engaging in these dynamic campaigns of the European Year of Youth. Our software solutions and wealth of data are available in many overseas markets. After all, tomorrow’s workforce is today’s youth, no matter where you live.

For more information about the availability of our products in your country, please request more information here.

Geographic Solutions Forecasts for 05/22 Labor Market Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey (CPS) report for May 2022 on Friday, June 3rd. Geographic Solutions, Inc. has produced forecasts of the two most closely watched macroeconomic data series from the report: the monthly change in employment and the monthly unemployment rate.

The labor market has been running hot for several months, but it is uncertain when increasing wage gains are going to have a dampening effect on employment. Geographic Solutions’ data is pointing to a slowdown in job growth for May.  As seen in the chart below, jobs are predicted to increase in May by 205,000. Geographic Solutions derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

Portrayed in the chart below is the 3.6% unemployment rate that Geographic Solutions forecasts for May, holding steady from its rate in April. The unemployment rate forecast uses internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 After the release of the report, Geographic Solutions will post a full analysis of the results.

GAAD_BLOG.jpg

It Starts with One Voice

Who knew a single blog post could spark an accessibility movement on a global scale? In 2011, web developer Joe Devon posted a blog entry calling for greater awareness of accessibility and for the creation of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). In a 2019 interview with Interactive Accessibility Podcast, Joe Devon tells the story of where the inspiration behind the blog post came from: his father, “a brilliant man … [who] spoke 10 languages, was a Holocaust survivor,” was trying to use a banking website but it was not accessible. Joe said of this frustrating experience, “It was painful to watch him get older and not be able to access a website.”

Joe Devon admits he had the expectation that his idea for a day of accessibility awareness would go nowhere. He stated, “I wasn't even smart enough to tweet this out. WordPress had an automated tweet thing so it tweeted out my blog post.” That’s where Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional, came across Joe’s blog. Jennison contacted Joe via Twitter, and they joined forces to create the worldwide day of observance. Thanks to their efforts, GAAD is observed on the third Thursday of May each year, driving awareness of accessibility issues. 

What Does Accessibility Mean?

In a post-COVID 19 world, the need for digital accessibility is more prevalent than ever. Social distancing requirements stimulated an increase in the reliance upon electronic activities such as shopping, banking, entertainment, work, healthcare, and more. For many people with disabilities, this may have provided additional access to opportunities they may have been limited or nonexistent previously — such as remote work opportunities or access to virtual services like entertainment and healthcare. Deque Systems collaborated with the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) to survey 292 accessibility practitioners in 2020 and followed up in 2021 with 270 responses. They found that although awareness around digital accessibility was higher than anticipated, accessibility complaints from people with disabilities increased.
Accessibility means that a person with a disability must be able to experience web-based services, content, or other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities. In the U.S. alone 61 million adults live with a disability — that’s 26% of the adult population — and 1 billion people worldwide are living with disabilities. Of those American adults who make up the working population, 19.1% have a disability. Digital access and inclusion is not just crucial, it is an absolute requirement for an equitable world.

Digital accessibility is not a new topic. It was 1998 when Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to include electronic and information technology accessibility. Job hunting is difficult enough but navigating a system that is inherently working against you makes it near impossible, and remote service delivery has transformed more than one workforce development office. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Guilford County (Greensboro) teams found creative ways to continue high levels of service delivery through their use of no-touch tools. The pandemic pushed many services to be provided virtually and accelerated the development of many no-touch tools

Creating an Accessible Experience for Every User

As a software development company, Geographic Solutions recognizes the large role it owns in creating accessible web applications and strives to bring ease-of-use to its products for all users.

Each site we develop provides the same modern accessibility technology including keyboard shortcuts, alternative text and descriptions for images, usability with alternative computer technology, clear and simple text language, and the use of WAI-ARIA markup for screen readers. In addition to the accessibility features, our sites employ logical and consistent navigation to allow for navigation via keyboard shortcuts both vertically (within the page) and horizontally (between pages). Hyperlinks are described with meaningful location text, and hidden headers can be used to navigate the site.

But for us, it is about more than just accessibility. Part of inclusion is empathy. When we feel empathy for others, we are more likely to find the ways to include them. In previous years, our in-house accessibility team executed Disability Awareness Labs to demonstrate the challenges faced by people living with disabilities. For 2022, Deque Systems, an authority in digital accessibility, is offering both an Accessibility Awareness Lab and a Fundamentals Bootcamp online
 

Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in April

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for April 2022 on Friday, May 6th. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market.

Employment in the U.S. rose by 428,000 jobs. The jobs report fell short of the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 580,000. The Wall Street Journal forecast of 400,000 was closer to the result. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

The unemployment rate remained the same at 3.6%, above the Geographic Solutions and WSJ forecast of 3.5%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

 

Job creation was strongest in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (104,000) and Leisure & Hospitality (78,000). Job growth was flat to positive in all industries.

 

Manufacturing is poised in May to join Construction; Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; and Financial Activities as one of the sectors that has recovered all jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Leisure & Hospitality employment continues to grow but is the only sector to remain more than 5% below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate declined to 62.2% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment ticked up to 7.0%.

March employment continued its record streak of growing by more than 400,000 jobs per month since May 2021.  At this pace jobs should return to their February 2020 total in three months. The labor market has been running hot for several months, but it is uncertain when increasing wage gains are going to have a dampening effect on employment.