By Kellie Lail

The great news: In June, unemployment remained at 3.6% for the fourth month in a row since March 2022, maintaining its two-year low. As a reminder, at 3.6%, unemployment is still only a tenth of a percent away from its pre-pandemic historic low of 3.5%. The industries that garnered the largest share of the 372,000 jobs added in June were leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care. Despite the number of new jobs added, the number of unemployed persons remained nearly the same at 5.9 million, compared to May’s 6.0 million. In February 2020, before the pandemic, the unemployment percentage was at 3.5% and the number of unemployed persons was at 5.7 million, so we are still closing in on the pre-pandemic unemployment rates.

The good news: In June, the number of long-term unemployed people came in at 1.3 million compared to May’s 1.4 million, only 215,000 higher than the pre-pandemic low in February 2020. This accounts for 22.6 percent of all unemployed in June. The number of people in part-time positions due to economic reasons, their hours being reduced, or being unable to find full-time roles, decreased to 3.6 million in June, coming in below the February 2020 low of 4.4 million. In June, 7.1 percent of employed persons teleworked, down from 7.4 percent in May. Employment rose by 372,000 in June, keeping on track with the average monthly gain over the prior 3 months.

The bad news: In June, 2.1 million persons reported that they were unable to work due to their employer closing or losing business as a result of the pandemic, showing an increase compared to the 1.8 million people reporting this in May. In June, 610,000 people reported that they were unable to look for work due to the pandemic, up from 455,000 in May. Although wages continue to increase, they have still not met the rate of inflation over the same time period. Discouraged workers who believed that no jobs were available for them was 364,000 in June, showing little improvement from May.

Keep in mind: As unemployment rates continue to remain low, inflation continues to rise along with the cost of living, and an increase in the number of businesses looking to hire while the number of unemployed persons actively looking for work remains relatively steady, being a competitive employer continues to be more important than ever. To attract the best candidates that are looking to work in your industry, you must show them that you are the most competitive employer in terms of salary, benefits, career stability, and career growth opportunities. In June, hourly earnings increased by 0.3%, or 10 cents. The average hourly earnings for all employees is now $32.08, with people in non-supervisory positions coming in at an average hourly salary of $27.45, showing a 13-cent, or 0.5%, increase.

Key Takeaways: With unemployment remaining relatively stagnant in June, employers will need to continue to raise wages and increase the number of offered benefits to attract additional staff. Employers should also aim to continue to increase their diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure that they are finding the best, most qualified candidates for their open opportunities. Consider training new employees without previous experience in the industry to cast a wider net in your search for new employees.

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