February 24, 2022 – The Labor Department reported that 232,000 Americans have filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 248,000 to 249,000. The four-week moving average was 236,250, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 243,250 to 243,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week, unchanged from the previous week’s revised rate. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.1 from 1.2 to 1.1 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week was 1,476,000, a decrease of 112,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 14, 1970 when it was 1,456,000. The previous week’s level was revised down by 5,000 from 1,593,000 to 1,588,000. The four-week moving average was 1,576,000, a decrease of 49,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since June 30, 1973 when it was 1,570,000. The previous week’s average was revised down by 1,250 from 1,626,250 to 1,625,000.
In other good news, the economy far outpaced expectations in January and added 467,000 jobs, much more than the consensus prediction of 150,000.
“Ongoing issues with labor supply has led companies to increase retention rates, which has contributed to the low level of jobless claims,” Bank of America economists wrote in a note. “We expect this to persist over the course of the year.”
“Continued tightness in the labor market indicates that upward pressure on wages and other employment compensation is not likely to moderate soon,” Federal Reserve governor Michelle Bowman said in a speech this week. “Even with the improving labor market, I still hear from businesses that qualified workers are difficult to find, and labor shortages remain a drag on hiring and on economic growth.”
There were 10,532 continued weeks claimed filed by former Federal civilian employees the week, a decrease of 367 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 4,826, an increase of 234 from the prior week. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week were in California (2.7), Alaska (2.6), Illinois (2.5), Minnesota (2.5), New Jersey (2.5), Rhode Island (2.4), the Virgin Islands (2.4), Massachusetts (2.3), New York (2.3), and Montana (2.0). The largest increases in initial claims for the week were in Missouri (+7,253), Ohio (+5,392), Kentucky (+4,555), Tennessee (+1,737), and Illinois (+1,488), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-1,688), California (-1,618), Wisconsin (-1,034), New Jersey (-941), and Connecticut (-747).
“Due to the clear labor shortage taking place, we have found companies to be more flexible on leadership profiles than once before,” said Travis Hann is managing partner of Pender & Howe Executive Search. “Flexibility in considering candidates with employment gaps, shorter tenure than previously desired and individuals from outside of a desired industry is becoming more normal.”
Challenges, Opportunities and Leadership Implications of the Great Resignation
In a new report, Russell Reynolds Associates says that availability of key talent and skills is a leading cause of concern among business leaders. And it’s the No. 1 issue they feel least ready to face. Forty percent of employees, in fact, say that they are “at least somewhat likely” to depart from their current job in the next three to six months.
“Accelerator and incubator programs for start-ups are also seeing more competition than ever before and due to the increased in VC investments, there is no shortage of employment opportunities for professionals to explore,” Mr. Hann said. “It’s partially refreshing to see employers focus more on a candidate’s core competencies, personality, and general work ethic vs where they have been and how long for. It was estimated that 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in December, that is an astronomical amount and is a clear indicator on how fierce the talent market is. We have not seen any indicators of it slowing down.”
“Employers have assumed that omicron would be painful but short term, so they haven’t changed their hiring plans,” said Mathieu Stevenson, the CEO of Snagajob, a job listings site focused on hourly workers. “Demand from employers is as strong as ever.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media