Employment Research Brief
Labor Slack Tightens to Pre-Pandemic Norms
As Job Growth Sustains Steady Pace
Hiring continues amid low unemployment. Employers added 428,000 new jobs in April, on par with the previous month. While the employment base remains about 1.2 million positions short of the February 2020 headcount, multiple signs point to a recovered labor market. Last month 5.9 million people were unemployed, only 200,000 above the pre-pandemic mark. The underemployment rate also fell to 7.0 percent in April, matching the February 2020 level. This measure takes into account part-time workers seeking full-time roles and people who want a job but stopped looking. The shortfall in staffing is largely attributed to people who left the workforce entirely when the pandemic began, including early retirement. Even so, ongoing inflation may prompt some to return, especially as many companies are augmenting pay in order to fill some of the 11.5 million jobs that are currently open.