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Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million, changed little in January. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down by 2.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 3.7 million. In February 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, and unemployed persons numbered 5.7 million.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 300,000 to 1.7 million in January. This measure is down from 4.0 million a year earlier but is 570,000 higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 25.9 percent of the total unemployed in January.
The labor force participation rate, at 62.2 percent, changed little in January. The participation rate is 1.2 percentage points lower than in February 2020.
The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 23 cents to $31.63. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.7 percent.
Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers, at 1.6 million, declined by 100,000 in January and is down by 1.9 million from a year earlier. The number of persons on temporary layoff, at 959,000 in January, increased over the month but is down by 1.8 million over the year. The number of permanent job losers, at 1.6 million, changed little in January but is down by 1.9 million from a year earlier.
Economists surveyed in February projected GDP in 1Q 2022 will increase 3.0%. The Wall Street Journal conducts an Economic Forecasting Survey among a group of nearly 80 economists on more than 10 major economic indicators on a quarterly basis, including GDP.
Temporary help employment was 2.07 percent of total nonfarm employment in January, up from 1.87 last month.
Temporary help jobs in January increased 9.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, from the same month last year.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 467,000 in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 555,000 in 2021. Nonfarm employment has increased by 19.1 million since April 2020 but is down by 2.9 million (1.9 percent) from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
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The COVID-19 mandate requiring federal contractors and employees of companies that do business with the federal government, be vaccinated by January 4, 2022, has been halted nationwide. The federal government continues to defend this requirement in court, and the federal contractor mandate is still the subject of ongoing litigation.
On 1/13/22, the U.S. Supreme County blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) vaccine-or-testing rule for workplaces with more than 100 employees. On 1/25/22, OSHA formally announced that it would withdraw this standard. OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) would have required businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
What happens next? It’s now up to businesses to decide to retain or drop plans to require vaccination or weekly testing. Most private-sector employers still have the right to implement a vaccine-or-testing policy that aligns with OSHA’s now-halted emergency temporary standard (ETS). Employers must consider all applicable state and local laws. For example, some states—Texas and Florida among them—have laws restricting such a policy; whereas New York City continues to require employers of all sizes to impose a vaccine mandate for those preset in the workplace.
45 percent of Black, 47 percent of Hispanic, and 46 percent of Asian survey respondents said they feel pressure to let their colleagues or manager know they are “at work” and being productive. This compares with 38 percent of White respondents.
72 percent of Black, 68 percent of Hispanic, and 65 percent of Asian survey respondents are actively looking or considering looking for new opportunities in the coming year. This compares with 51 percent of White respondents.
80 percent of Black, 78 percent of Hispanic, and 77 percent of Asian survey respondents want a flexible working experience through a remote-only or hybrid workplace model. Employees of color hold a higher sense of belonging when working remotely compared to working in the office and relative to their White counterparts.
A survey of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/ questioning) workers found that 46 percent have been unfairly treated at work. This includes not being hired, being fired, and being harassed.
49 percent of Hispanics and 47 percent of Black job seekers and employees have quit a job after witnessing or experiencing discrimination at work. This compares to 38 percent of White job seekers and employees.
76 percent of job seekers report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 41 percent of Black and LGBTQ job seekers will not even apply when there is a lack of diversity in the company.
71 percent of employees would be more likely to share experiences and opinions on DEI at their company if they could do so anonymously.