Never has the US witnessed such a dip in the number of applications for unemployment benefits since 1969.
However, experts attribute this to seasonal factor distortion, which they anticipate will be reversed in a week’s time.
As per the Labour Department, the number of workers filing for initial unemployment benefits fell by 71,000 in the week ended 20 November, 2021, compared to the week before that. In 2019, jobless claims were at an average of 2,18,000 per week.
The labour market does seem to be recovering, now that more job openings have come up and demand for labour has surged. Over five lakh jobs were added in October and the unemployment rate dropped from 4.8 per cent to 4.6 per cent.
Yet, millions are opting to stay home and wait for even better times, while employers are battling labour shortage. For working parents, child care is a challenge because COVID cases are on the rise in many areas, and therefore, children are being forced to opt for online classes and avoid attending school physically.
Employers in the retail, leisure, hospitality and logistics space have had to raise wages significantly to attract workers. Job postings on job sites have also gone up compared to February 2020, just before the pandemic.
Many workers have managed to use the work-from-home situation to their advantage and upskill themselves. This has helped them bag better jobs or even switch sectors. Combined with the significantly high salaries being offered to attract workers, it surely is an emloyees’ market at the moment.