New York CNN
Economists closely monitor monthly US jobs reports to look for cracks that may indicate a possible recession. But their predictions have been tested month after month with stronger-than-expected gains.
The jobs report for last month was no different.
The number of new jobs created by employers in May was a staggering 339,000, far exceeding the economists' predictions of 190,000.
Since January 2021, employers have consistently hired more workers every month. The economy slowly began to reopen after several months of lockdowns.
In 2021, employers added 606,000 jobs per month on average. In 2022, employers added an average of 399,000 new jobs per month. This figure continues to fall, but is still high with 314,000 monthly average gains.
The US economy was affected by the pandemic in February 2020.
Many industries, such as transportation and warehouses, have recovered their lost workers. However, some industries still struggle to recover the workers that they lost because of the pandemic.
Industries with a shortage of workers
Four major economic sectors employ fewer people now than they did before the pandemic.
The biggest shortage is in leisure and hospitality, where 349,000 workers or 2% are missing from the pre-pandemic work force.
The most laid-off workers in all industries were leisure and hospitality workers during the peak of the pandemic as many venues closed down due to lockdowns. Even when the restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues were allowed to reopen, and people began to travel again, workers did not jump at getting their old jobs.
Jim McCoy said that instead of finding jobs in the same industry, people moved to other industries which paid better and allowed them less exposure to others.
McCoy stated that he had seen a large number of people who worked in restaurants move to working from home. He added that many of these workers have found remote jobs in call centers, and they've stuck with them ever since.
The second largest shortage of workers is in government jobs.
This sector includes a variety of occupations, such as sanitation workers and postal workers. The majority of workers shortages are in the public school sector.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 118,000 less public school teachers in the United States last month than February 2020.
Teachers are also at risk of getting Covid.
McCoy said to CNN that despite the shortage, public education jobs were slower than other industries in raising wages. This is likely due to state and local budget constraints. Public education wages have been slower to rise than in other industries despite the shortage. This is likely due to budget restrictions at state and local levels.
Recently, things have started to change.
McCoy stated that he has seen evidence over the past year-and-a-half of school districts and colleges making progress in terms of wage increases to keep up with cost of living.