Jobs abundant, workers remain in high demand


According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobless rate declined in December to 3.9%, and the economy added 199,000 new jobs. Job growth overall in 2021 averaged 537,000 per month.

One thing that’s been pretty constant in the labor market this year is strong demand for workers.

Job openings have been near record-highs, and workers have been quitting their current jobs to look for new ones at a record rate

The online job site Indeed, which is a Marketplace underwriter, is awash in available jobs, said research director Nick Bunker.  

“Postings on Indeed are about 64% above where they were pre-pandemic, which is a reflection of just how much demand for workers there is right now,” he said.

Meanwhile, very few people who have jobs are getting laid off. First-time claims for unemployment—which soared early in the pandemic—are now near historic lows.  

And that’s held true even in the past couple weeks, as omicron-variant COVID cases surged and some workers couldn’t, or didn’t want to come to work, said Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

“And so if a restaurant can’t operate for a few days, they’ll keep people on the payroll because they don’t want to have to go look for another worker,” he said.

Surveys find workers’ sense of job security is high, and many consider it easy to find a job right now.