EXPLAINER: Did US Hiring Slow Because Of A ‘Labor Shortage’?

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 2, 2021, file photo, a woman, wearing a protective mask due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, walks past the signs of an employment agency, in Manchester, N.H. Companies are advertising more jobs than they were before the pandemic, when the unemployment rate was a 50-year low of 3.5%. So they clearly want to add workers. Yet hiring stumbled in April because many employers couldn't find as many as they needed. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(AP) — The April U.S. jobs report was an unexpected clunker. Economists had predicted a second month of nearly 1 million added jobs. Instead, to nearly everyone’s surprise, employers added a comparatively paltry 266,000. So why was the gain so low? The broadest explanation is that any time an economy has to recover from a severe shock, it isn’t likely to proceed smoothly. Month-to-month hiring will be choppy. Because the economy is rebounding faster than almost anyone thought it would, many companies were caught flat-footed. Even though they’re advertising even more jobs than they did before the pandemic, hiring stumbled in April because many employers couldn’t attract as many workers as they needed.


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