As always, this Friday’s employment report will be closely scrutinized. Has the Omicron variant slowed job creation? Could the unemployment rate rise back to 4%? Will the “quit rate” remain high?
Chief among the concerns will be how quickly wages increase and whether any of the “lost labor supply”—the U.S. labor force is still 2.3 million workers fewer than at its December 2019 peak—finally comes back to work? With job openings currently almost 70% higher than the number of unemployed, an unresponsive labor force and surging wage costs weigh heavily on the minds of both the Federal Reserve and investors.