There have been many uncommon and historic aspects of the economy over the past several years. Experts say the job market is only now starting to resemble pre-pandemic conditions. What does that mean for those looking for employment opportunities?

What You Need To Know

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 303,000 jobs in March 2024, but April dropped drastically to 175,000 jobs added

  • NYS Department of Labor April 2024 local metro area unemployment numbers increased to 3.9% from 3.5% in April 2023

  • Watertown-Fort Drum has the highest unemployment rate in New York for April 2024 at 4.8%, while Ithaca has a 2.9% unemployment rate, making it the lowest in the state

The nation’s unemployment rate has remained below 4% for more than two years. Hiring at the beginning of 2024 was more robust than all of 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job openings as reported by the Labor Department were 8.5 million for the month of April, down from the peak of 12 million job opportunities in the labor market. The sector that saw the most hiring from the last report was health care.

Recent college graduates and teenage summer job seekers are also expected to impact numbers in certain job sectors. Experts say the demand for labor is still greater than the supply of workers.

"So it was really a crazy mismatch in the misalignment of supply and demand of workers when we were reopening the economy a few years ago," said Bankrate Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick. "And now we’re seeing job openings coming down, but they are still seen as elevated, and that should translate into opportunity for workers.”

Hamrick added to keep in mind that the areas of the economy and labor demands that are slowing the most are those that are interest rate-sensitive, due to the Federal Reserve trying to bring inflation down through high interest rates.

"But we’ve seen the other side of that coin when there were too many job openings when we went to restaurants or hotels as examples," Hamrick said, "and there weren't enough people there because essentially, those employeers could not satisfy their hiring need. So I do think the job market is coming into better balance, but it is still largely favors those who are looking for work because the unemployment rate is so low.”

New York Department of Labor numbers show that in April, local metro areas' unemployment rate increased to 3.9%, up from 3.5% in April 2023. Watertown-Fort Drum has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 4.8%. Glens Falls is second with 4%. Ithaca is sporting the best unemployment numbers at only 2.9% unemployed.

The next Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates are scheduled to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 10 a.m. on June 4.