BLS Employment Situation Report: April 2021

BLS Employment Situation Report: April 2021
BLS Employment Situation Charts - April 2021The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today reported total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 266,000, continuing a four month increase in job growth but significantly below consensus estimates. Unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.1 percent, well below its April 2020 high of 14.7 percent.

Job growth was led by continued robust expansion in the leisure and hospitality industry.

“Our Network of over 300 executive recruitment firms is seeing record breaking demand for top talent across virtually every industry segment. The vast majority of our offices report client demand for transformative talent at levels not seen since the recovery from the Great Recession,” said Bert Miller, President and CEO of MRI. “Our recruiting professionals reported Network-wide year-over-year revenue increases in excess of 40% in March. We are advising our clients to view this continued growth in job demand as much more than a post-Covid recovery. We urge them to look at the talent marketplace through a new lens, where constant technological innovation, ongoing skilled worker shortages, and unprecedented economic growth fueled by infrastructure and capital investment spending are creating a new world of work that requires new talent solutions.”

The BLS reported 18.3 percent of all non-farm employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 21.0 percent in March. These data likely reflect an acceleration of workers returning to traditional workplaces as schools re-open for onsite education and the vaccine is more widely available.

As noted by Reuters reporter Lucia Mutikani a shortage of workers probably contributed to the muted April results, “U.S. employers hired far few workers than expected in April, likely frustrated by labor shortages, leaving them scrambling to meet booming demand as the economy reopens amid rapidly improving public health and massive financial help from the government. From manufacturing to restaurants, employers are scrambling for workers. A range of factors, including parents still at home caring for children, coronavirus-related retirements, and generous unemployment checks, are blamed for the labor shortages. The moderate pace of hiring could last at least until September when the enhanced unemployment benefits run out.”

Echoing those same sentiments, Wall Street Journal reporters Sarah Cambon and Gwynn Guilford note, “Higher vaccination rates, fiscal stimulus and easing business restrictions are converging to support stronger spending across the U.S. But many businesses are reporting they can’t find enough workers, a phenomenon that could restrain economic growth in the coming months.

In April, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 331,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in many parts of the country. More than half of the increase was in food services and drinking places (+187,000). Job gains also occurred in amusements, gambling, and recreation (+73,000) and in accommodation (+54,000).

Jobs increased by 44,000 in the other services sector and by 31,000 in local government education.

Employment in financial activities rose by 19,000 over the month, with most of the gain occurring in real estate and rental and leasing.

Manufacturing employment edged down in April (-18,000), following total gains of 89,000 in the previous two months.

Employment levels in retail trade, healthcare, construction, and information technology remained virtually unchanged versus the prior month.

“The best and brightest candidates are well aware of the demand for top talent. They are looking for roles at firms with clear, compelling, and verifiable hiring brands. They look for a firm’s commitment to true diversity and inclusion, a corporate hiring brand that values not just a candidate’s skills and flexibility but looks at the emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills that transformative talent can bring to an organization. The new world of work is much more than policies on the optimal design of remote work models and other post-Covid temporary fixes. It is about an unrelenting focus on finding and nurturing top talent,” said Miller.