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Millions have joined the labor force in the past year

Jun 3, 2022
About 3.5 million more people were working or looking for work in May than a year earlier. Economists hope the number keeps rising.
Labor force participation is up, and economists hope it continues to rise.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

With workers scarce, some industries are turning to robots

Jun 2, 2022
The pandemic accelerated automation purchases, according to an industry group, especially in agriculture, construction and fast food.
A fully automated fast food restaurant in San Francisco in 2015. Industries like fast food and construction increasingly rely on automation.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fed Chair Jerome Powell: "Whether we can execute a soft landing or not, it may actually depend on factors that we don't control."

May 12, 2022
"I think the one thing we really cannot do is to fail to restore price stability," Powell told Kai Ryssdal.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, left, speaks with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Nancy Farghalli/Marketplace

As labor shortage persists, fewer immigrants means fewer workers

The U.S. had 2 million fewer working-age immigrants at the end of 2021 than it would have had if pre-pandemic trends continued.
The decline in immigration may be contributing to the scarcity of workers relative to employers' needs. Immigrants are also well-represented among the ranks of entrepreneurs.
Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

We're about 3.5 million potential jobs short of a full recovery

May 9, 2022
We’ve now regained more jobs than we lost early in the pandemic in some sectors.
Now Hiring signs are displayed in front of restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on March 19, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

As jobs rebound, those paying least are hardest to fill

May 6, 2022
Health care, child care and K-12 education, which offer jobs with lower pay that need to be done in person, have yet to fully recover.
A company seeking aluminum workers posted an ad on a bus in Portland, Oregon. The private sector has been able to raise wages and hire people faster than the public sector.
Mitchell Hartman/Marketplace

As employers compete for scarce workers, some employees are winning big wage gains

May 6, 2022
On average, wages aren't rising as fast as inflation. But not all workers are getting average raises.
New data show that hourly wages are up by 5.6 percent on average as of March, but employees are demanding more from employers in a strong labor market.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

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Is a wage-price spiral driving inflation?

May 4, 2022
Wages are rising fast, but not as fast as prices. When inflation expectations drive workers' demands for higher pay, inflation can spiral out of control.
Rising prices can motivate workers to seek higher pay. Both are increasing quickly.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Who is being left out of the conversation when we talk about jobs?

We spoke with Alex Camardelle, director of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, for an answer.
"When we look at some of the disaggregated dynamics of the labor market, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, we recognize that not everybody is doing so well," says Dr. Alex Camardelle of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Another week of historically low unemployment claims confirms the job market's on fire

Apr 21, 2022
Two years ago, more than 4 million people filed for benefits in a single week. This year, the number's around 180,000.
The data on recent filings for jobless benefits compares favorably with pre-pandemic levels, but nearly 2 million people were working before the pandemic who aren’t now.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images