Subject to the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic, the American labor market is struggling. Only 199,000 jobs were created in December 2021, half less than the 440,000 expected by analysts, the labor department announced on Friday (January 7).
However, the unemployment rate continued to decline, more than expected, falling to 3.9% (- 0.3 percentage point) and thus approaching its pre-pandemic level (3.5%). Already, in November 2021, job creations were much lower than economists’ expectations (249,000, revised up). These figures are all the more disappointing given that the data was collected before the Omicron variant spread across the country.
President Joe Biden, who has made jobs and reducing inequality a priority, was due to comment on the report mid-morning. “Job growth averaged 537,000 per month in 2021”, said the labor department in a statement.
3.6 million fewer jobs since the pandemic
Since April 2020, 18.8 million jobs have been recreated, but 3.6 million jobs are still missing compared to the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic. In December 2021, employment continued to rise in the leisure and hospitality sector, where the pandemic is most severe, as well as in professional and business services, industry, construction and transportation. and warehousing.
Almost two years after the spread of Covid-19 in the United States, industries with face-to-face interactions remain extremely vulnerable to levels of infection cases. Many companies have postponed plans to return to the office, sometimes indefinitely. Restaurants and theaters are in an increasingly difficult situation due to chronic staff shortages and fears of new infections with the Omicron variant. Some school districts have reverted to distance learning, or are threatening to do so, making it difficult for women to return to work, especially for women.