The employment market is one of those big question marks in the U.S. economy today. Unemployment jumped to 14.7% in April, but then fell to 13.3% in May even as people expected it to climb to 19.5%. So, are things getting better quickly? Maybe not.
The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that layoffs did slow down in April, but we’re still the second-highest on record. The Labor Department said on Tuesday in its monthly JOLTS that layoffs and discharges dropped 3.8 million in April to 7.7 million.
At the same time, job openings dropped like a rock, giving unemployed workers few alternatives. The government reported that job openings, a measure of labor demand, declined 965,000 to 5.0 million on the last business day of April, the lowest since December 2014.
The labor market was slammed by the closure of nonessential businesses in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many establishments reopened in May, with the economy adding a stunning 2.509 million jobs last month after a record 20.7 million plunge in April, government data showed on Friday. It could take a decade for employment to fully recover.
Hiring tumbled 1.6 million to a record low 3.5 million in April. The hiring rate plunged to an all-time low of 2.7% from 3.4% in March.
If Millennials graduating from college thought it was a bad deal to finish classes online and not have a ceremony, just wait until they try to find gainful employment this summer and fall. It looks like it’s going to be rough out there.