In November the US economy gained 210,000 jobs according to a survey directed towards employers —this was the smallest increase this year. Compared to February 2020 there are still 3.9 million unrecovered jobs. On April 2020 there was a record loss of over 25 million jobs as the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, higher than during the financial crisis last decade. Since then, recovery has been steady with a slight slowdown in November .
Although the job gain hast not been as quick as economists expected, the economy still seems to be heading in the right direction. The jobless rate fell from 4.6 too 4.2 after reaching 14.7% on April 2020. On a revision, the BLS reported a combined 82,000 job gain for the months of September and October.
Although employers need additional employees, these are hard to come by, specially in retail because of The Great Resignation. In November people from ages 25 to 54 gained space in the labor market rising from 78.8% to 80.4%. This may indicate that people in these age brackets are returning to work, therefor we may see them reach their pre-pandemic participation in 2022 (83% of the labor force). On the other hand, there is also a concern about people in ages above 54 retiring early after the pandemic gave certain commodities and a change of lifestyle, in which case those jobs would be fulfilled by people on prime working ages. The slowdown in job gains is also not a negative issue since it’s a natural event provoked by other issues, like inflation rate reaching its highest point in decades and along with a decline in consumer confidence.
Finally, the new omicron variant may play a major role in the time it takes to fill remaining job positions and reach pre-pandemic levels. About one-third of remaining positions are in leisure and hospitality, the industry that is most affected when restrictions take place. On April 2020 it lost almost half of its jobs with approximately over 8 million people, while other industries lost between one and 2.5 million jobs.