The last year has been a rollercoaster ride in terms of unemployment numbers. The good news is that we finally seem to be on the road to recovery. Last week, initial unemployment claims fell even further, dropping to the lowest level we’ve seen since March 2020.
As we inch closer to weekly new filings that match pre-pandemic levels, it’s important to note that new weekly jobless claims are still elevated. Currently we’re averaging around 348,000. Looking back at 2019, claims averaged a little over 200,000.
The Issues Companies Face Today
During the height of the pandemic, industries across the globe faced a shortage of workers. However, over the last few months, the tide has changed, and we continue to see stability and improvement for new unemployment claims.
This indicates several things. First, companies are no longer laying off employees due to a lack of funding or work. Instead, the major issues employers now face is attracting, finding, hiring, and retaining the right workers for the job.
Because a large number of people are looking to hire at the same time, competition is stiffer than ever before. This is a huge benefit for workers, but not so much for companies who are struggling to build their workforce.
Why You Should Care
The pandemic has forced people to be more in tune with unemployment numbers than ever before. Understanding what’s happening on a weekly basis directly impacts both the employed and unemployed.
Unemployment numbers affect:
- Disposable family income
- Purchasing power
- Employee morale
- Economic output
With today’s dropping unemployment numbers, job seekers have the upper hand. This is a trend that’s expected to continue for the next few months.
Employers are eager to rebuild their workforce. However, competition for top talent continues to grow. This means job seekers have more opportunities to choose from.
To attract talent, employers are paying higher rates and offering sign-on bonuses. Companies have also revamped their benefits package to include items such as childcare services and mental health coverage.
All of these changes are welcome benefits for those who have been impacted financially due to the pandemic.
In the midst of rising cases due to the Delta variant, COVID-19 continues to be a huge factor in unemployment and economic growth. As much as we all want the pandemic to be a distant memory, the fact is that it’s not over yet. In fact, we may be facing our highest infection levels to date.
The good news is that the unemployment rates are dropping, which gets us one step closer to total recovery.