May 12, 2022 – The Labor Department reported that 203,000 Americans have filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 200,000 to 202,000. The four-week moving average was 192,750, an increase of 4,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 188,000 to 188,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending April 30, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 30 was 1,343,000, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since January 3, 1970 when it was 1,332,000. The previous week’s level was revised up 3,000 from 1,384,000 to 1,387,000. The four-week moving average was 1,385,000, a decrease of 32,750 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 31, 1970 when it was 1,374,250. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 1,417,000 to 1,417,750.
“With job openings and quits at a record high, employers will keep layoffs to a minimum,” economists from Oxford Economics said.
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell reiterated his assessment of the labor market’s strength earlier this month, just days after calling the current job market “tight to an unhealthy level” in his post-Fed meeting press conference last week. “The labor market has substantial momentum. Employment growth powered through the difficult Omicron wave, adding 1.75 million jobs over the past three months,” Mr. Powell said in a speech last week. “By many measures, the labor market is extremely tight, significantly tighter than the very strong job market just before the pandemic.”
“Almost 500,000 workers decided to leave the workforce in April. The large decline is a concerning prospect for businesses that are facing one of the tightest labor markets in decades,” Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network, said in an email Friday morning. “Currently, there are 11.5 million job openings and only 5.9 million unemployed, causing a large mismatch in labor supply and demand that’s fueling wage growth. A further decline in the participate rate could exacerbate the labor supply shortage, resulting in further wage pressures that will inevitably flow through to broad-based inflation.”
The unemployment snapshot is the first since the department said a week ago that the U.S. economy added almost 430,000 jobs during the month of April, which solidly beat expectations.
Strong hiring optimism continued into the second quarter of 2022, according to the Q2 ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of 41,000 employers. Employers in 36 of 40 countries reported stronger hiring intentions than this time last year with greatest demand in IT, finance, and manufacturing. Demand for skilled workers remains at record highs as employers seek to attract and retain the best, diverse talent as employers embrace the post-pandemic era.
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“Labor markets around the world are looking strong for Q2, with hiring outlooks back at pre-pandemic levels in most countries,” said Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup. “Any impact of the Ukraine crisis is not reflected in employer hiring intentions. While Poland and neighboring countries are dealing with the humanitarian crisis, we must be poised to help resettlement and employment efforts for refugees, adapting roles and requirements to fill vacancies and create new opportunities.”
“At ManpowerGroup we are working fast to leverage our experience integrating refugees into labor markets from other countries – for example from Syria to Germany, Afghanistan to U.S. – and to adapt and scale reskilling and upskilling programs specifically targeted to this population,” said Mr. Prising. “Now is the time for collaboration between employers and governments to make it as fast and simple as possible to integrate refugees into the workforce so they can earn a living, contribute to society, and most importantly feel welcomed in their new surroundings.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media