sunny.png
Saturday May 28th, 2022 7:41AM

US employers add 199,000 jobs as unemployment falls to 3.9%

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a modest 199,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell sharply, at a time when businesses are struggling to fill jobs with many Americans remaining reluctant to return to the workforce.

The Labor Department said Friday that the nation’s unemployment rate fell to a healthy 3.9% from 4.2% in November.

Omicron has sickened millions of Americans, forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights, reduced traffic and restaurants and bars and caused some major school systems to close, potentially keeping some parents at home with children and unable to work.

Still, the job market may be healthier than the modest hiring gain the government reported Friday. The aftermath of the pandemic has made the government’s employment figures more volatile, with one month’s data often followed by a sharply different trend a month or two later.

The economy has also shown resilience in the face of surging inflation, the prospect of higher loan rates and the spread of the omicron variant. Most businesses report steady demand from their customers despite chronic supply shortages.

Consumer spending and business purchases of machinery and equipment likely propelled the economy to a robust annual growth rate of roughly 7% in the final three months of 2021. Americans’ confidence in the economy rose slightly in December, according to the Conference Board, suggesting that spending probably remained healthy through year’s end.

Even with December’s modest gain, 2021 was one of the best years for American workers in decades, though one that followed 2020, the job market’s worst year since records began in 1939, a consequence of the pandemic recession. Companies posted a record number of open jobs last year and offered sharply higher pay to try to find and keep workers. Americans responded by quitting jobs in droves, mainly for better pay at other employers.

Economists have cautioned that job growth may slow in January and possibly February because of the spike in new omicron infections, which have forced millions of newly infected workers to stay home and quarantine, disrupting employers ranging from ski resorts to airlines to hospitals.

Alaska Airlines said it’s cutting 10% of its flights in January because of an “unprecedented” number of employees calling in sick. But because omicron is less virulent than previous COVID-19 variants and few states or localities have moved to limit business operations, economists say they believe its economic impact will be short-lived.

Still, Andrew Hunter, an economist at Capital Economics, a forecasting firm, calculates that up to 5 million people — roughly 2% of America’s workforce — could be stuck at home with COVID over the next week or so. Workers without sick leave who miss a paycheck are classified by the government as jobless. Any such trend could sharply lower job gains in the employment report for January, to be released next month.

Omicron will also likely weigh on jobs at restaurants and bars. The number of Americans willing to eat at restaurants started to slip in late December, according to the reservations website OpenTable. Restaurant traffic was nearly at pre-pandemic levels for much of November but had fallen nearly 25% below those levels by Dec. 30, based on a weekly average of OpenTable data.

Other measures of the economy have mostly reflected a resilient economy. A survey of manufacturing purchasing managers found that factory output grew at a healthy pace in December, if slower than in previous months. Hiring also picked up. Auto dealers report that demand for new cars is still strong, with sales held back by semiconductor chip shortages that have hobbled auto production.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Careers, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US employers add 199,000 jobs as unemployment falls to 3.9%
U.S. employers added a modest 199,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell sharply, at a time when businesses are struggling to fill jobs, with many Americans remaining reluctant to return to the workforce
8:39AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Kazakh president: Forces can shoot to kill to quell unrest
Kazakhstan’s president has authorized security forces to shoot to kill those participating in unrest
8:31AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Chicago nixes school for 3rd day as virus, union debate rage
Classes in Chicago were canceled for a third consecutive day amid an ongoing fight with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols
8:30AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
"A hurricane:" Virus storm sends test-makers into overdrive
The wildfire spread across Europe of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus is driving soaring needs for testing
6:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
Banned from the Olympics by IOC, NKorea puts blame elsewhere
North Korea says it will skip next month’s Beijing Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic and “hostile forces’ moves."
4:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
Kazakh leader ordered use of lethal force on 'terrorists'
Kazakhstan's president says he authorized law enforcement to open fire on “terrorists” and shoot to kill, a move that comes after days of extremely violent protests in the former Soviet nation
4:10AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
Djokovic's detention becomes political issue in Australia
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has embraced border officials' decision to deny entry to tennis star Novak Djokovic, who had earlier been issued documents allowing him to enter the country ahead of the Australian Open without a COVID-19 vaccine
12:34AM ( 8 hours ago )
How do I know if I have a cold, the flu or COVID-19?
Symptoms of common colds, the flu and COVID-19 can overlap, so experts say testing is the best way to determine what you have
12:23AM ( 8 hours ago )
Americans do not remember Jan. 6 Capitol riot as one people
The Jan. 6 insurrection anniversary has meant a day of solemn remembrance, but mainly for Democrats
12:16AM ( 8 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Chinese anti-virus lockdowns add to concerns over economy
China’s lockdowns of big cities to fight coronavirus outbreaks are prompting concerns about more disruptions for the economy after two makers of processor chips said their factories were affected
4:42AM ( 4 hours ago )
World shares turn lower after tech-led decline on Wall St
World markets have turned lower, tracking a retreat on Wall Street led by declines in big technology stocks
4:12AM ( 4 hours ago )
Asian shares mixed after tech-led decline on Wall St
Asian markets are mixed after more declines in big technology stocks pulled major indexes lower on Wall Street
2:22AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business
Will Elizabeth Holmes' conviction sober up Silicon Valley?
The fraud conviction of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes could do more than just send a once-celebrated billionaire to prison for years
5:37PM ( 2 days ago )
Congress' doctor wants 'maximal telework' amid virus surge
Congress’ top doctor says lawmakers should move to a “maximal telework posture.”
4:12PM ( 3 days ago )
Live updates: US Congress’ doctor urges ‘maximal telework’
Congress’ top doctor says lawmakers should move to a “maximal telework posture.”
1:52PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Business - Careers
More weakness in technology stocks leaves US indexes lower
More declines in big technology stocks pulled major indexes lower on Wall Street, driving the market further into the red on the first week of the year
4:09PM ( 16 hours ago )
Dozens of protesters, 12 police dead in Kazakhstan protests
Authorities say security forces have killed dozens of protesters and 12 police have died during extraordinarily violent demonstrations in Kazakhstan
3:39PM ( 17 hours ago )
Stocks wobble as traders weigh outlook for rates, inflation
Stocks are wobbling in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors consider the outlook for rising interest rates and inflation
2:14PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Kazakh president: Forces can shoot to kill to quell unrest
Kazakhstan’s president has authorized security forces to shoot to kill those participating in unrest
8:31AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Chicago nixes school for 3rd day as virus, union debate rage
Classes in Chicago were canceled for a third consecutive day amid an ongoing fight with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols
8:30AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Nations using euro see record inflation. What does it mean?
Inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency hit its highest level on record, led by surging food and energy costs
8:24AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic spends religious day in detention
Novak Djokovic is spending one of his important religious holidays in an Australian detention hotel working on his challenge against deportation regardless of who made an error on the visa or the vaccination waiver or whatever
8:12AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Families despair over post-holiday return to remote learning
A growing number of U.S. school districts are moving back to online classes because of the winter surge in COVID-19 cases
8:02AM ( 40 minutes ago )