Continuing a six month increase in job growth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today reported total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 850,000. Results were above analyst expectations as higher wages and incentives to meet growing demand drew more workers back into the labor force. Unemployment rate was little changed at 5.9 percent.

Once again, gains in the leisure and hospitality industry drove much of the expansion as 343,000 new jobs were added in this sector.

“The continuing growth in non-farm payroll as reflected in today’s BLS data is also mirrored in the demand for executive, technical, professional, and managerial talent that our Network of over 300 offices saw throughout June. In our most recently reported month, May 2021, our offices successfully completed almost double the search assignments versus the prior May,” said Bert Miller, President and CEO of MRI. “Highest year-over-year growth was in our financial practice, particularly within banking reflecting demand for professionals to manage investment decisions. We also saw significant growth and demand for industrial automation professionals in our manufacturing practices. In addition, we are seeing an uptick in the percentage of face-to-face interviewing as the talent selection process starts to resemble a return to some form of normalcy or now, a new normalcy.”

In June, 14.4 percent of the nonfarm workforce reported they teleworked at some point in the past 4 weeks because of the of the pandemic. This was down from 16.6 percent in the prior month indicating continued acceleration in the rate of return to on-site work.

“From a market perspective, this was an all-out positive jobs report,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors. “The improvement today likely reflects a slight easing of the labor supply constraints that have been holding back the jobs market in recent months, as well as continued momentum from the economic reopening.”

Reporter Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal provided additional context to today’s BLS numbers. He noted Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Western Alliance Bancorporation, said demand is rising as consumers, flush with cash from wage growth and government aid programs, are boosting spending on services they put off last year. But supply—mainly, workers—isn’t keeping up.

“Employment gains would be much greater if not for labor shortages,” Mr. Sohn said.

Mr. Sohn thinks those shortages will persist beyond this summer, and perhaps in the medium- and long-term and it could take another year or so for the labor market to fully recover from the pandemic.

In June, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 343,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in some parts of the country. Over half of the job gain was in food services and drinking places (+194,000). Employment also continued to increase in accommodation (+75,000) and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+74,000).

Employment in professional and business services rose by 72,000 driven primarily by employment in temporary help services (+33,000).

Retail trade added 67,000 jobs in June. Over the month, job growth in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+28,000) and general merchandise stores (+25,000) generated most of the gains.

Employment gains in most other sectors grew modestly or were little changed versus May.

In June, wholesale trade added 21,000 jobs, with gains in both the durable and nondurable goods components. Employment in mining rose by 10,000 in June, reflecting a gain in mining support activities. New positions in manufacturing changed little in June (+15,000).

Employment in transportation and warehousing slightly increased in June (+11,000). Also, little changed were jobs in construction that declined by 7,000 versus May.

In June, employment showed little change in other major industries, including information, financial activities, and healthcare.

“Many clients are focused on bringing talent into their organization who can be transforming and multipliers. Past education and past roles remain important, and candidates who demonstrate and prove their drive toward their ‘intentional north star’ are increasingly in demand. What you do, how you do it, who you positively impact along the way and how you demonstrate a whatever-it-takes mentality is the winning mindset many corporate leaders want to see. Other key attributes are agility, consistency demonstrated during good and bad times, a team-first mentality, open-mindedness and demonstrating leadership regardless of role are some of the intangibles in greatest demand,” noted Miller.

Labor Market Snapshot

Charts 1 and 2

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