Job vacancies are at a record high – but few people are returning to the job market.
The US created 850,000 new jobs in June, which bodes well for the health of a recovering economy. Nevertheless, the share of people in employment stagnated last year.
In June, the so-called participation rate was unchanged at 61.6% – just like in October last year. A person is considered part of the labor force if they have or are looking for a job.
The proportion of Hispanics or Latinos in the labor force was the highest of any group at 65.5%. Asian-Americans were not far behind at 63.2%.
The number of blacks entering the labor market rose again in June, exceeding the participation rate for whites for the first time since 1972. Their activity rate was 61.6% compared to 61.3% for whites.
The labor force shrank at the beginning of the pandemic and was about 3% below the average. The labor force participation fell to a 47-year low at times.
With federal unemployment benefits expiring in September and more businesses and schools reopening, some economists expect a larger group of people to return to work within the next few months.
However, it may take a year or two for the workforce to return to its pre-pandemic peak.
US stock indices set a round of closing records on Friday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average
the S&P 500 index
and the Nasdaq Composite Index
all move forward before the long July 4th holiday weekend.