With new job openings in the hundreds of thousands, you’d think the job market was incredibly prosperous this time around, but the overblown hype in regard to the economy getting back on its feet might have toned down everyone’s excitement with the outcome.
Record numbers of available jobs were coming in at the same time as workers were massively quitting their current positions, confusing economic analysts who were already struggling to understand the situation at hand.
All in all, however, 2021 was a year of progress for the job market, and even if the expectations were much higher, the 6,4 million new jobs and historically low unemployment rate, currently sitting at 3.9%, all compensated for it.
Unfortunately, this can only be said for the past year as a whole, as results vary from month to month, and those were even more demoralizing due to economists’ overly optimistic projections for each month, which continued to bring on disappointment.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the economists tasked with these projections are bad per se, but rather that they’re not used to the additional factors that COVID-19 brought to the equation, causing them to lose track of how many jobs out there are experiencing worker shortages.
Another detrimental factor to it all was that everyone’s eyes were on the economy far more than previous years, and looking at a thing too hard and too long makes you see issues that, in a different situation, no one would have batted an eye to.
Progress doesn’t always guarantee immediate success
The insane growth doesn’t immediately mean that the country has experienced a full recovery, in fact, it’s far from it, with the nation still around 3.5 million jobs down compared to February 2020, which was only weeks before the global lockdowns started.
The participation rate has suffered too, currently still sitting at 1.5% under the levels recorded before the pandemic had begun, with female participation down by the same amount, which hasn’t been recorded since 1991.
The Omicron variant of the virus left a lot of work on our hands at year’s end, and most of it was carried into 2022, so this year’s off to quite the rough start.
Thankfully, the job reports from the last couple of months have all been revised higher, with experts believing even the December report could revise higher if addressed.
We may not know what the future’s got in store for us, but another year like 2021, this time with slightly more realistic expectations though might help us dig ourselves out of the pandemic-caused economic pit.