Unemployment Rate Drops Below 4%

With a tight job market, high-turnover industries like restaurants and convenience stores might find it harder to fill vacancies.

May 11, 2018

WASHINGTON – Late last week, the U.S. Department of Labor released its most recent report on the nation’s labor market showing the unemployment rate at 3.9%, the lowest rate since 2000, the New York Times reports. This week, that’s more important than ever with many businesses gearing up for a busy summer tourist season that unofficially kicks off Memorial Day weekend.

U.S. employers continue to add workers, with April also marking the 91st straight month of job gains—the longest streak of added jobs in history. “We’ve continued to add jobs routinely every month for so long, and the unemployment rate we have reached is amazing,” said Catherine Barrera, chief economist of ZipRecruiter. “It’s very incredible.”

The last time the unemployment rate stayed under 4% for a sustained period of time was the late 1960s,but economists cautioned against predictions that today’s rate will remain that low. Some wonder that the low rate could be a sign that the economy will experience another bust, similar to the jobless rates prior to the dot-com fiasco. “It’s easy to try to analogize and say that’s what we should be preparing ourselves for right now,” Barrera said.

The labor pool is also suffering from a shortage of teenage workers, with QSRs in particular scrambling to find enough entry-level employees to fill vacancies.