Unemployment rates near record low, and the Fed is worried

The unemployment rate dropped from 3.8 percent to 3.6 percent in March, nearing an all-time low, according to a Wall Street Journal article written by Justin Lahart, a financial reporter.

While some may celebrate the low unemployment rate as the economy gets back on track after the pandemic, the Federal Reserve is concerned about the economy's precarious position. A tight labor market pushes wages, and inflation, higher. The economy added 431,000 jobs last month, and the average payroll increases in 2022 so far hit 561,667 jobs.

If unemployment grows at even half the rate it has been for the last few months, the unemployment rate would be 2.5 percent by the end of the year for the first time since 1953. The Fed seems to have indicated that it would like the job market to cool off and for the unemployment rate to stop falling, placing the just-right unemployment rate at 4 percent.

But if the unemployment rate rises too quickly, it would send the economy into a recession, according to the report.

"The best outcome right now would be for inflation to start cooling and for the unemployment rate to stabilize, allowing the Fed to avoid slamming on the breaks. But there aren't any guarantees that that is the outcome we are going to get," wrote Mr. Lahart.

Ambulatory surgery centers are feeling the pinch. There are around 67 ASCs hiring administrators, and some are offering $5,000 sign-on bonuses. ASCs are also in search of nurses and staff members, and many report boosting wages, offering flexible schedules and more to stay competitive.

Craig Gold, administrator of Virginia Center for Eye Surgery in Virginia Beach, sees the labor market stabilizing this year as the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations increase and the variants are less severe. Hospitals that were offering thousands of dollars in sign-on bonuses may also taper their recruitment efforts as their workload becomes more manageable.

"Our turnover over the past couple of months has definitely toned down compared to when I first started, and before I got there. I'm hoping that's a promising sign of some stability," he said on the "Becker's Healthcare Podcast."

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