December 2021 Jobs Report: Capping Off a Record-Breaking Year of Hiring
One of the fastest years of job creation in U.S. history ended last month, still making some progress despite rising threats from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and continued employee shortages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report.
199,000 jobs were added last month, just half of what economists anticipated and the lowest number in a month since December 2020. But the bigger picture still shows a steady, recovering economy: last month the unemployment rate dropped to a pandemic low of 3.9%, and the total number of jobs added by employers in 2021 equaled 6.4 million – the most the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has recorded in over 80 years.
If you have felt discouraged by the past few months of lower-than-expected jobs report findings from the BLS, do not lose hope. The BLS revised both its October and November job’s report numbers, reporting there were 141,000 additional jobs created during those two months combined than the number that was previously reported. The BLS Employment Situation data reflects the most accurate numbers at the time, but some companies take longer to return their employment surveys, which impacts the total employment in the initial report.
The need for employees to fill open positions – a prominent trend of 2021 – carried into the years’ end as December marked the sixth straight month of over 10 million job openings nationwide. The labor shortage has increased wages in nearly every industry, which has benefitted employees but also forced businesses to raise prices due to higher costs of labor, resulting in inflation across the country. December’s report capped off a monumental year for low unemployment and twelve consecutive months of job growth, setting up the economy for continued recovery in 2022.
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