The economy is recovering and the job market is heating up as pandemic cases fall and mandates are lifted.

The February Jobs Report broke records with a gain of 678,000 jobs. Unemployment is down to 3.8 percent which is the lowest it has been since February 2020. Employers have added at least 400,000 jobs every month since May, which is the longest streak on record.

Even with record growth, the US economy still has about 2 million fewer jobs than it did before the layoffs caused by pandemic lockdowns. However, if the current hiring pace continues, that gap will close in a few months.

Men are driving the growth with 88.8 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 participating in the labor force, which is just slightly lower than pre-pandemic numbers. Black and white people are participating in equal shares, a jump for black people who typically aren’t as well represented in the labor force. Black men are participating in the highest numbers since March 2018.

However, one group isn’t rebounding as quickly. Women aren’t returning to the labor market, according to the National Women’s Law Center. While men have recouped all of the jobs lost during the pandemic, women lag behind. If growth continues at the current pace, it will take 10 more months before women regain the positions they lost. School closures and daycare shut downs disproportionately affect women and their ability to work.

In addition to the women who haven’t yet re-entered the workforce, some people figured out that they had the means to retire when pandemic layoffs occurred. Even though retirement isn’t always forever, most early retirees are content to remain retired. A number of them indicate that they would like to work, but also say they haven’t looked for a job in the past 12 months.

Chief Economist at Amherst Pierpont, Stephen Stanly, said that the idea that millions of sidelined workers are waiting to enter the job market is probably not correct. The labor market is experiencing strong demand, and that is likely to remain the case for quite some time.

With the low unemployment rate, employers are looking at ways to attract workers. Wages have gone up overall a little more than 5% in the past year. Service industry job wages are up over 11%. Some employers are offering sign on bonuses and other perks.

This difficult hiring environment makes teaming up with a recruiter to fill open positions a great tactic. Recruiters are professionals who excel at selling your company and your open positions. They are in tune with what candidates are looking for in a job, and what the market rates are for benefits and compensation. If you are hiring for a specialized role, or a role in a new technology, recruiters know where to find candidates with the requisite skills who might not be responding to job postings. If you’d like more information on how Hire Tomorrow can partner with you to reach your staffing goals, reach out to us today.