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Special Report

Employment Research Brief

September 2023

Shift Toward Pre-Pandemic Hiring Patterns
Clearer, Aiding Fed Objectives

Labor market dynamics becoming more familiar. Job growth in August tallied 187,000 positions, one of the slowest months for hiring in the pandemic recovery period. Headcounts declined in the information and transportation sectors, heavily influenced by Hollywood strikes and the bankruptcy of trucking company Yellow. Even without these one-off factors, the labor market is displaying clear signs of returning to pre-health crisis dynamics. Since May, employers have brought on an average of roughly 150,000 personnel on net per month, below the monthly average for 2019. The unemployment rate also rose 30 basis points in August to 3.8 percent, its highest level in 18 months. Amid higher joblessness, the number of people voluntarily leaving roles fell month-over-month. Taken together, these factors point to a labor market that is still growing but undoubtedly loosening. 

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