U.S. job growth likely picked up in June as companies, desperate to boost production and services amid booming demand, raised wages and offered incentives to lure millions of reluctant unemployed Americans back into the labor force.
The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday will likely show that the economy closed the second quarter with strong growth momentum, following a reopening made possible by vaccinations against COVID-19. More than 150 million people are fully immunized, leading to pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and mask mandates being lifted.
Despite the anticipated acceleration in hiring, employment gains would probably still be less than the million or more per month that economists and others had been forecasting at the beginning of the year. “There are jobs, but workers are not there,” said Sung Won Sohn, professor of finance and economics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
The minimum pay workers will accept has risen significantly since the pandemic began, he said, “and many workers have an inflated view of what their skills are worth and as a result they are not willing to go back to work at the prevailing wage.”