April 29, 2021 – The Labor Department reported this morning that 553,000 Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 19,000 from 547,000 to 566,000. With the revisions, this is the lowest level of claims since the pandemic struck last year. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had been looking for a drop to 528,000 new claims. Since last February, the U.S. has lost over 11 million jobs. While the number of weekly claims remains inordinately high by historical means, the trend is falling now that the U.S. economy continues to reopen and close to three million Americans receive vacations each day for COVID-19.
The U.S. economy expanded at an annual pace of 6.4 percent in the first quarter, according to data also just released by the Commerce Department, a strong comeback in line with forecasts for annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2021.
U.S. employers added 916,000 jobs in March, and economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal project robust hiring—better than 500,000 a month—to continue for the next year. While that pace of hiring is more than double the rate in 2019, it would still leave the economy short of replacing all of the jobs lost during the pandemic in the next 12 months. As of March, there were 8.4 million fewer jobs on payrolls compared with February 2020, according to the Labor Department.
“The movement overall is in the right direction,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said. “As we get closer to herd immunity, as restrictions can be lifted – think about dining rooms that can go from 50 percent to 100 percent capacity and baseball stadiums that can be 100 percent instead of 10 percent – those are things that get us closer to where we were before.”
During the week, 51 states reported 6,94,068 continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 51 states reported 5,192,711 continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The highest insured unemployment rates were in Nevada (5.9), Connecticut (5.3), Alaska (4.9), New York (4.6), Illinois (4.3), Vermont (4.1), Rhode Island (4.0), Pennsylvania (3.9), District of Columbia (3.7), and New Mexico (3.7). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 17 were in Virginia (+8,717), Michigan (+6,300), Indiana (+4,484), Utah (+4,060), and California (+3,417), while the largest decreases were in Texas (-20,036), New York (-16,840), Georgia (-6,001), Florida (-5,564), and Washington (-4,031).
Technology Specialists Weigh In
“The market is as active as ON Partners has ever seen it,” said Jake Espenlaub, vice president at ON Partners. “Growth and private equity funds have continued to deploy capital at record-setting levels, and as a result it’s never been harder to acquire tier-one talent. The companies that are hiring leading executives are getting creative, moving quickly and decisively, and stretching on compensation. Throughout the tech sector, we don’t expect a slowdown. Outside of certain verticals, SaaS & eCommerce businesses continue to thrive.”
“Technology recruiting is in high demand right now,” said Tindall Sewell, partner at ON Partners. “Private equity firms are deploying capital like we’ve never seen before, and the need for key executives to lead these companies are crucial. 2020 was a year of not rocking the boat. The pace of searches has also picked up given the use of video.”
“We not seeing any signs of slowed growth for 2021 and beyond,” she said. “Companies like Uber, Slack and Cloudera began after the 2008 recession, so I bet new companies will continue to build and innovate as the world adjusts to remote work and a post-pandemic world.”
“I expect we’ll see the growth of roles like revenue operations,” Ms. Sewell says. “As companies continue to scale, key executives will be needed to make sure the operations keep up with the growth across the go-to-market functions.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media