By Francesca Maglione
There may be a glimmer of hope for U.S. employers who are facing an acute labor shortage. “Job” has finally overtaken “unemployment” as a search term for the first time since March 2020, according to data from Google Trends. The number of Americans googling “unemployment” peaked at the end of March 2020, when the pandemic shut down the U.S. economy, and had been hovering above “job” searches until mid-September 2021.
The trend could be a promising sign for the labor market, which has seen a dearth of workers from the restaurant and hospitality industries to trucking and farming. That’s given American workers the upper hand for the first time in decades: Desperate to attract employees companies have increased hourly wages, offered hiring bonuses and changed job requirements.
“We think it’s likely that transfer #payments and UI #benefits have heretofore enabled workers to refrain/delay reentry to the #labor force, but now that these top-ups have ended, return to work should become more pronounced,” tweeted Rick Rieder, the chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock.
An extra $300-a-week in federal pandemic unemployment helped keep workers on the sidelines, but those benefits ended in all states as of Sept. 6.
Though September was the slowest month of job growth so far this year, applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell to 293,000 in the week ending Oct. 9 — the lowest rate since March 2020.
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