ON THE MARCH JOBS REPORT
The strong economic recovery in the United States continued in March 2022, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that the United States economy added 431,000 jobs in the month. While a slight slowing from the torrid pace of expansion in the last few months, this represents continued labor market strength with the easing of the pandemic. Workers are returning to the labor force in substantial numbers, drawn in by opportunities in a tight labor market. The labor force participation rate now stands at 62.4%, up nearly one percentage point from a year ago and more than two points off the pandemic-low. Earlier this week the BLS reported that job openings remain near record highs, having hovered around 11 million for the past five months. As the pandemic continued to wane with the end of most remaining mask mandates, employment has strongly recovered, especially in the hardest-hit leisure and hospitality sector.
Last month’s employment report came at a time of increased uncertainty, following shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and in advance of the Federal Reserve’s first policy tightening moves. Equity markets have seen losses and increased volatility during this period, and credit conditions have tightened, especially mortgage markets. But the real economy looks to set to continue its robust recovery.
Noah Williams is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the Juli Plant Grainger Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
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