This month begins with a less than expected number of jobs being added to the economy in November. 210,000 jobs were added, yet the national unemployment rate went down from of 4.6 to 4.2%.

The jobs number is a puzzling number and is inconsistent with the payroll processing group ADP that said in its National Employment Report, that private sector jobs grew by 534,000 in November.

Recent history indicates an adjustment in these numbers may be coming. All indications are that it is a strong jobs market, and that is good news as we enter the holiday season.

Here at Workforce Connections Inc., we have a list of good news reflections that we want to highlight as we conclude another transitional year in the economy and the workforce.

1. There are jobs aplenty! More than 22 million people lost their jobs during the COVID recession, but today the market has recovered a large majority of those jobs. People who want to work have numerous options to choose from, and the unemployment rate is back down to 4.2%. Weekly unemployment claims have remained under 300,000.

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2. Wages are up! Nationwide, wages are up 4.9% from one year ago. While that shows progress, it doesn’t keep up with the current levels of inflation, and that is a glitch that will either correct itself or spiral. WCI will be watching both inflation and wages to see how that impacts the people we serve.

3. Some families have money to spend! According to the federal reserve, total household wealth reached a record $141.7 trillion in Q2 of 2021 which is $5 trillion more than at the end of the previous quarter. That wealth is unevenly distributed, but there are some slight indications for the bottom half of households. Stimulus payments and other forms of direct aid to families have kept some families afloat.

4. The GDP has bounced back! The gross domestic product (GDP) is forecasted for a full year growth of 5.6% which is well above the average 2% annual growth rate of the past decade.

5. Interest rates are low! While this may change shortly due to the impacts of inflation, the Federal Reserve is managing the reengagement of the economy using a number of strategies including tightening the supply of money.

6. The stock market and housing markets are hot! The low interest rates have helped increase assets such as stocks and homes. Home prices are up 13%. While Wall Street isn’t Main Street, these increased assets drive economic growth.

7. Technology! The internet and virtual capacity have provided numerous options to serve people, report data, receive health care including mental health services, gather news and engage and interact with people. This is a trend that is here to stay!

8. The vaccines and boosters are readily available! While the pandemic is not in the rearview mirror yet, we have numerous options to remain healthy and protected from the virus. Staying alert and aware of the variants will go a long way to stopping the spread.

9. Kids are back in school! As the childcare and school situations stabilize, parents are more apt to reengage in the workforce, and reduce the number of job openings that are hinder overall growth for businesses.

10. Programs are available to upskill the workforce! A variety of accessible programs are available to help people that want to take advantage of opportunities to upgrade their skills!

11. The Job Center is open! After being closed for 15 months, the Job Center is back open, and WCI’s many partner agencies staff are ready to assist job seekers and businesses.

12. The amazing staff at WCI! Our highly qualified, well-trained staff offer in-depth knowledge on the various resources available to the community that can help guide you from where you are to reach your preferred future.

If you need assistance in creating your preferred workforce future, please request assistance at www.workforceconnections.org/request-services.html or contact Workforce Connections, Inc. at 608-789-5620.