New jobs surpassed expectations, with 273,000 new jobs in February, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5% last month, matching a 50-year low, down from 3.6% in January. There was also a total of 85,000 new jobs created in December and January. Increases in jobs were seen in health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, government, construction, professional and technical services, and financial activities. Also, due to the mild winter and warmer weather there were 42,000 construction jobs added in February. After months of reduction, manufacturing had a big gain of 15,000 jobs in February.
Of course, all of the new job and low unemployment statistics were taken before the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. The coronavirus has everyone watching to see how it will continue to effect the United States. You can already see an impact in the United States with conferences either being cancelled or held virtually, the stock market fluctuations, colleges cancelling in-person classes, and offices offering more work from home options and restricting business travel.
A recent Manpower survey found that employers in the Midwest are planning to hire at their highest levels in more than a decade with 21% planning to add staff. Analysts are also predicting an increase of 140,000 to 170,000 new jobs in the next couple of months but this may not occur if the coronavirus outbreak doesn’t end soon (The Washington Post). Many economists are predicting that the labor market will soon decrease as a result of economic fallout from the growth of the coronavirus (USA Today). With Americans focusing on intense social distancing can lead to a decline in consumer spending and issues with employment in the service sector.
Demand for employees is still outpacing the supply of skilled workers and companies are still posting jobs and working to proactively find candidates. Some companies are making adjustments such as video conference interviews instead of in person which is a great way to fill your candidate pipeline while focusing on social distancing. To stay up-to-date with regards to the coronavirus the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has information for employers on what you should know, guidelines and suggestions from the CDC and guidance on workplace protections and rules.