Speed Reads

looming jobs report

It might take a year for U.S. to return to pre-pandemic employment levels

The looming May jobs report, which will be released Friday, is a big one, especially after hiring slowed unexpectedly in April. It "will provide the first indication of whether the hiring slowdown … was a fluke, as some economists suspect" and "it will also provide evidence of whether workers are streaming back into the labor force, which would alleviate central bank concerns about labor shortages driving up inflation," The Wall Street Journal reports.

So, what to expect? The smart answer is probably that it's best not to make predictions, or at least confident ones, after April's unpleasant surprise, but the Journal surveyed economists, anyway. They estimate an additional 674,000 jobs in May, which would be an improvement from April's 266,000, but not one that will necessarily knock anyone's socks off. As the Journal notes it would take the United States about a year to return to the February 2020 — the last month before the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold — employment level at that pace. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.