Economic Forecasts

Jobs: Normality in Sight

Kiplinger’s latest forecast on jobs

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Normality is slowing returning. Job growth should be strong the rest of the year. The number of teleworking employees declined to 14.4% in June from 18.3% two months ago in April. The number of unemployed people who were prevented from looking for work because of the pandemic dropped to 1.6 million from 2.8 million two months ago. However, total employment is still 6.8 million below its prepandemic level. Many of these are likely to return to the labor force later, but some have permanently retired.

An 850,000 job gain in June was boosted by 155,000 teachers and school support staff hired for the fall, but still showed that the services sector was recovering nicely. Restaurants, hotels, amusements, sports, recreation, and events accounted for 343,000 of the total, following a strong 306,000 gain in May. Clothing and department stores are back in business and hiring. So is child day care. Grocery stores and e-commerce delivery services continue to downsize from their pandemic peaks. Manufacturing showed a good gain, but autoworkers have been hurt by production cuts caused by semiconductor shortages.

The rise in the unemployment rate to 5.9% showed the tightness of the labor market, because it was the result of a higher quit rate and people coming back to look for work. Otherwise, the rate would have dipped to 5.7%.

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