Updated: July 02, 2021 10:36 PM
Created: July 02, 2021 07:53 PM
In an encouraging burst of hiring, America's employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months, according to a new report from the US Labor Department.
The jobs report shows economic recovery is accelerating and broadening, said Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter, but adds that's not the whole story.
"The disappointing finding in this report is that labor force participation is still flat," said Pollak. "That's surprising because we've seen vaccinations accelerate, much of the economy re-open and many people had hoped, that would draw people back into the labor market."
Pollak said there are different reasons for workers not coming back to the labor force including work place safety concerns, the pandemic, child care barriers, and extended unemployment benefits.
Nestled on the corner of Como and Carter avenues in St. Paul, you can find the Finnish Bistro.
"We're on a shoe-string staff right now --it is tiny and stressed--everyone is maxed out," said owner Sandra Weise. "I haven't had a day off in 16 months, I look forward to that."
Weise says she struggles to find qualified applicants to come work at a business where customer's tips have quadrupled during the pandemic.
"People have heard how great the tips are so we are drawing people that don't have experience," Weise said. "It's hard work, it's not an easy job, some people are like 'I want the summer off'," Weise explained.
Friday's report from the labor department was the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession. Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels.
The result is that many businesses are desperate to hire and have posted a record-high number of jobs. With competition for workers intensifying, especially at restaurants, tourist,and entertainment venues, employers are offering higher pay, along with signing and retention bonuses and more flexible hours.
"COVID is more difficult on the back-end than on the front-end," Weise said about trying to find staff. "For a business and business operations, it's unbelievable, it's not over for us, we're in high gear of crisis."
Weise hopes by the end of summer more people will decide to come back to the job market.
The proportion of job advertisements that promise a bonus has more than doubled in the past year, the employment website Indeed has found.
The unemployment rate rose from 5.8% in May to 5.9% in June, the report showed.
Despite the job market's steady improvement, unemployment remains well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck, and the economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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