WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Since the pandemic started, employers have been looking hard to fill job openings, but that might be a different story in 2022.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 199,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in December. Expectations for the month were higher, hoping for an increase of 400,000 jobs.
Despite the small growth, PNC senior economist Bill Adams expects this to change in the coming months.
“In the household survey, we saw faster job growth than we saw in the payroll survey, and that’s been the pattern for the last few months,” he said.
Adams said some surveys are under-reporting the job market’s strength. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, nearing the rate from before the pandemic.
“Three point five percent in early 2020, which was the lowest in 50 years,” Adams said.
Even though the unemployment rate is dropping, job openings are still high across the country.
Adams said over 1 in 20 workers in the leisure and hospitality industry left to find new jobs last November. He said this fuels the job market’s competitiveness.
“That’s driving faster wage growth, especially for lower-paying occupations like food service and brick and mortar retail,” Adams said.
Adams also stated the omicron variant may lead to a softer job report for January and February. However, he expects faster job growth as the health situation improves.
“I think we are going to see the unemployment rate continue to fall and likely reach the level that it was before the pandemic began by the end of this year,” Adams said.