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    NewsUSAThe conundrum of the US labor market

    The conundrum of the US labor market

    The wave of layoffs in the United States is registering a surprisingly smooth fall. Giants like Google, Goldman Sachs and Salesforce, among others, have cut jobs in the past year amid recession fears. But if more people are losing their jobs, the numbers aren’t reflecting it as they usually do. It could be a sign that America’s mythical white-collar crisis is just around the corner.

    American companies announced nearly 103,000 layoffs last month, according to the company coaching Challenger, Gray & Christmas. But the number of claimants for unemployment benefits has remained well below the pre-pandemic average, according to the US Department of Labor. For its part, the unemployment rate, which compares the number of people looking for work with the total active population, registered its minimum of 54 years in January. The job offer registered a figure of 11 million in December, an almost record level, which indicates that there is not much margin either.

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    One of the reasons for this disconnection between some figures and others has to do with who is being fired. The technological and financial sectors, which are highly paid, accounted for 51% of layoffs in January and 53% in December, despite the fact that, added together, these two sectors barely account for 8% of total employment. Additionally, one in three laid-off workers received severance pay, according to a survey by ZipRecruiter. The workers who lost their jobs also said that they could subsist an average of 3.3 months without receiving labor income thanks to what they had saved.

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    The good news for the economy as a whole is that, in areas where the pay is lower, the job market is going from strength to strength. Job offers in restaurants, hotels and the tourism sector approached record highs in December. This is something that cannot be ignored, especially if the layoffs of office workers bring with them a slowdown in demand for other goods and services. For the moment, the most visible layoffs, even though they are painful, will take time to make a dent in other sectors.

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