America's workers rush back to labor force
The big shocker of Friday's jobs report: More than half a million people entered the labor force, the biggest influx in over a year.
Why it matters: A giant cloud over the recovery — the snail-like pace workers have returned — may be starting to clear.
- Workers coming off the sidelines put a dent in America's historic labor shortage.
By the numbers: Across nearly all demographics, labor force participation — a measure of how many people are working or actively looking for work — spiked.
- Hispanic and Latino workers were one standout, with that rate jumping 0.6% last month.
The big picture: What's pulling workers back in may depend on what kept them out in the first place — like lack of child care or fear of contracting the virus.
- "We know that schools have been reopening and staying open. The Delta variant wave has diminished, though cases are still rather high," says Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao.
- Fatter paychecks probably don't hurt either: wages are up almost 5% from this time last year.
Reality check: There are still 2.4 million fewer people in the labor force than before the pandemic hit.
- Economists warn some won't ever return (due to retirement, for one).
The bottom line: This was the month the workers came back.
- "We will need to wait ... to see if this is a fluke or the start of a longer-term trend," says Zhao.
Go deeper ... A tale of two jobs reports