Weird Phenomenon of “Labor Shortages” as Millions of People Still Aren’t Working: Employers Hired 2.5 Million in Three Months

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

The Fed is looking for jobs reports to justify tapering its asset purchases, and this was one. But the labor market is still messed up.

While companies are desperately searching for labor and are offering hiring bonuses and higher wages, amid a record number of unfilled job openings, still 6.1 million fewer people were working in July than before the pandemic, and 13 million people were still claiming state or federal unemployment benefits. But this weird phenomenon is showing signs of loosening up.

Employers of all types – companies, governments, and nonprofits – reported that they added 943,000 workers to their payrolls in July, and 2.5 million over the past three months, bringing their payrolls to 146.8 million workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. But total payrolls were still down by 5.7 million from February 2020 (green line).

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