Companies still hungry for U.S. workers
Despite scary headlines about layoffs, most employers are still hungry for workers — underpinning a still-hot labor market.
For evidence, look at the unemployment rate (above), which at 3.5% is near a historic low.
- Technically, if you include extra decimal places, the jobless rate hit 3.46% in December (hat tip: University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers). That's a fresh half-century low.
Zoom in: The effect is being felt among minority groups too. The Black unemployment rate (5.7% in December) has only been lower one other period on record: 2019.
- And for Hispanics or Latinos, the unemployment rate (4.1%) is hovering near the record low (3.9%) achieved two months earlier.
- Both groups, however, have higher jobless rates than that of white Americans (3%) and the national rate.
Why it matters: The pace of jobs added each month has moderated, but there are still plentiful job opportunities for American workers.
- The most recent data available — from November — shows roughly 1.7 open positions for each available worker.
Between the lines: Some economists anticipated the jobless rate might have to spike in order to bring inflation down. At least so far, that is not the case — inflation is receding, data this week showed, even as the unemployment rate drifts lower.