Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh headshot
Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

Although long-term care continues to face labor issues, the number of unemployed workers in the United States overall decreased below the 4% mark in December for the first time since the pandemic began, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday. The unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points to 3.9% in December. 

Additionally, 2021 saw the largest ever one-year drop in the unemployment rate on record, according to Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

“We’ve recovered 84% of the jobs lost in March and April 2020. And we’ve recovered these 18.8 million jobs years faster than economists predicted,” Labor Department Chief Economist Janelle Jones blogged

In December, employment showed little or no change in the healthcare industry, the BLS reported. COVID-19 and the labor issues it exacerbates will continue to be a primary focus of senior living providers in 2022 and beyond, industry leaders recently told McKnight’s Senior Living.

“The true measure of economic success is how the economy is doing for those usually left behind,” Jones wrote in her blog.

She noted that the Black unemployment rate is more than double the white unemployment rate; Black women were the only demographic group that saw unemployment rise in December. 

“We are investing in equity and diversity in job training programs and career services, strengthening health and safety, wage and anti-discrimination protections for the most vulnerable workers, and making sure the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates good jobs for every community,” Walsh said.