The data is released a little earlier than expected, revealing US-based employers announcing 19,052 job cuts last month – some 75% lower than the figure in December 2020. For the whole of 2021, employers announced plans to cut 321,970 jobs from their payrolls and that is the lowest annual total on record since tracking began in 1993. Challenger notes that:
“The sheer number of COVID cases will impact the labor market, regardless of how severe illnesses are. Working parents are dealing with massive interruptions in schooling, requiring them to revert to managing virtual classes or take over child care themselves. Meanwhile, those with COVID safety concerns will continue to shun in-person roles.
“The main difference between now and prior COVID waves is that much of the financial support from the government – expanded unemployment benefits, pandemic pay, sick leave, child credits, student loan payment suspension, eviction moratoriums – is gone, which may push workers who were leaving the workforce for child care, COVID concerns, or burnout back into the labor market before they would have with that assistance intact.”