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Employment trends show labor market settling into new normal

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  • The US has returned to record high employment, but the labor market is very different than it was in early 2020.
  • The courier and messenger sector saw a surge in employment during the pandemic.
  • But accommodation and care homes are still struggling just to get back to pre-crisis employment numbers.

The US may return to record jobs, but jobs look nothing like pre-pandemic norms.

First of all, many face-to-face service sectors are still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels. Travel arrangements and booking services are far from pre-crisis employment figures, with employment down about 31% in August from February 2020 levels. Such businesses were hit hard throughout the pandemic as early lockdowns and subsequent virus variants suspended travel for much of the year.

Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told Insider that the downturn in business travel is also having an impact on the industry’s hiring plans, and the deficit is likely to continue.

“There will be a permanent decline in office ecosystem jobs and commuting-related jobs, as remote work will be permanently more than it was pre-pandemic,” she said.

Coal mining employment is 17.7% below pre-pandemic levels. Glassdoor lead economist Daniel Zhao told his Insider that this underscores the long-term trends that existed before COVID as the US transitions to cleaner energy sources.

The shift away from coal “isn’t really changed by COVID,” Zhao said. “If anything, the pandemic may have delayed it slightly simply because energy prices have soared. I expect the trend to continue.”

Public transportation and ground passenger transport, including school buses and public transit, have also not yet returned to their pre-pandemic employment.

“We expect the industry to recover, but it may be at a different pace than other economies as it relies heavily on government funding,” Zhao said.

Leisure and hospitality employment still down 1.2 million from pre-pandemic levels

Companies in the leisure and hospitality sector have added jobs at the fastest pace throughout the recovery, suggesting they may still catch up. But jobs are still far from their previous highs, so a return to those job numbers could be slow before the sector fully recovers.

“We all thought the first move away from trend was pandemic-related and that things would get back to normal. said. “We don’t really see the convergence associated with the end of the pandemic and the return to normal behavior.”

Accommodations such as hotels and motels have been affected by the pandemic. Employment numbers at such companies are down about 19% from the levels seen in February 2020.

“Overall, I think the lodging and the broader leisure and hospitality industries will return to pre-pandemic employment levels,” Zhao said. “Right now, that industry feels far removed from its pre-pandemic state, largely due to how severe the crisis was for the leisure and hospitality industry.”

F&B services and restaurants, which belong to leisure and hospitality as well as accommodation, are still below pre-pandemic employment. He could be one in a sector that may never return to its pre-pandemic state.

“Restaurant and its patrons have found themselves in the ‘new normal’. Given cutting-edge technology, changing consumer behavior and dietary preferences, and the extraordinary challenges of the past two years, it is unlikely that the industry will fully return to its pre-pandemic state,” the National Restaurant Association said in a statement. says so.

Some US industries see higher hiring compared to February 2020

On the other end of the labor market spectrum, companies that have helped transition to life in lockdown are doing the best. Warehousing and storage sector employment is up 35% from early 2020 levels. This is fueled by the surge in e-commerce businesses that emerged last year and disruptions in supply chains.

Nick Bunker, director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a statement to Insider:

Employment in couriers and messengers, a sector that grew through the pandemic, is nearly 28% higher than pre-pandemic numbers.

The data processing and hosting sector boosted employment to 18% from previous highs. This is likely due to the accelerated shift to cloud computing and telework. Employment in the scientific research and development services industry has likewise increased.

A changing labor market may be good for workers

Labor market turmoil is not necessarily a bad thing. Nonfarm payrolls rose to about 153 million in August, surpassing the previous high set in February 2020 and marking a new record for U.S. employment. The unemployment rate has risen slightly to 3.7% for him, but the rise reflects a healthy increase in labor force participation, with the unemployment rate still hovering near its 50-year low.

Job openings are near record highs, suggesting labor demand remains strong. This could be an advantage for Americans who have been kicked out of struggling sectors and are looking to move into another field of work.

But the latest employment figures confirm that the labor market is shaping up like never before. Pandemics were always set to leave lasting scars on the United States. Some of that is already showing up across the labor market, and as the recovery progresses, the workforce may deviate further from its pre-crisis status quo.