What Labor Shortage? Number of Workers Hits Record High

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

RVING, TEXAS - AUGUST 10: A welder works on an overpass on the Irving Interchange infrastructure project at the site of the former Dallas Cowboys Stadium on August 10, 2022 in Irving, Texas. The $301 million project, started in 2020 and set to end in 2023, includes the reconstruction of interchanges at SH 183, SH 114, Loop 12 and Spur 482. The Texas Department of Transportation says 261,000 square feet of concrete is being used for 32 bridges spanning 4.8 miles and an additional 4.6 miles of roadway in the Irving project, part of the Texas Clear Lanes initiative, aimed at reducing congestion in urban areas of Texas. The Dallas Cowboys played at Texas Stadium in Irving, Tx. for 38 seasons. The structure was demolished in a controlled implosion in 2010 following the NFL team's move to AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington, Tx.

John Moore / Getty Images

If you’ve been applying for jobs, you might have encountered more competition for those open positions than in the past. Why? Well, the workforce grew significantly in August and passed its pre-pandemic high point. 

The civilian labor force level—that is, the number of people working or looking for a job—grew by 786,000 in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. That was enough job-seekers to make the unemployment rate go up despite 315,000 jobs being added to the economy, As the chart below shows, the workforce has finally gotten back to its pre-pandemic level. 

The labor force participation rate, that is, the workforce as a percentage of the population, also ticked up but remained below pre-pandemic levels because the population has grown since then. Still, the resurgence of workers is welcome news for employers who have blamed rampant inflation partly on the difficulty of finding enough people to fully staff their operations. 

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The Employment Situation, August 2022."

  2. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “How Fixing Our Worker Shortage Can Fight Inflation.”

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