US Employment Picture Brightens

April 6, 2021 by Victoria Turner
A passer-by walks past an employment hiring sign while entering a Target store location, in Westwood, Mass. The Federal Reserve says there’s evidence (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

WASHINGTON – With 7.4 million job openings and 5.7 million new hires across the U.S. in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover report paints a brighter picture for the country’s employment situation more than a year into the pandemic. 

Total separations remained relatively unchanged from January’s rates going from 3.7% to 3.8%. However, this number includes quit rates, layoffs and other separations such as retirement, death, and disabilities. Nevertheless, a stark difference in layoff rates from November to now can be seen – with over 2 million cross-industry layoffs and discharges in fall decreasing to almost 1.8 million by the end of February. Throughout the 12 months ending this February, however, there has been an overall employment loss of 8.6 million jobs across all U.S. industries and regions. 

However, it seems some industries are making a comeback. This is particularly so for the arts, entertainment and recreation industry that was particularly affected during the nationwide lockdown, yet experienced a 2.2% point hike in job openings compared to last February. Another hard-hit area, the accommodation and food services industry, also seems to be turning around. In November, layoffs in this area were at 3.7%, which have now decreased to 1.4%. That’s a difference of 271,000 layoffs. From just December to the end of February, the hire rate in this industry spiked from 6.1% to 8.8%, a 2.7% point difference of 330,000 hires. And throughout the 12-month period, it has an overall increase of 2.3% points.

You can access the full report here

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