Survey: Economists see unemployment sinking to near 50-year low in 2022

By - January 6, 2022

By the end of this year, just about all the jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic will be recovered and joblessness will be close to a 50-year low, according to the nation’s top economists.

Experts polled for Bankrate’s Fourth-Quarter Economic Indicator survey see the unemployment rate dropping to 3.8 percent when 2022 concludes. Joblessness previously sank to a pre-pandemic low of 3.5 percent for the first time since the 1960s. Meanwhile, economists forecast that U.S. employers will add an average of 292,000 new positions each month over the course of this year.

To be sure, that projection reflects a slowdown in job creation, with firms creating about 484,000 new positions each month between December 2020 and November 2021. Yet, if that forecast plays out, the job market will have reached a significant milestone: about 98 percent of its 22.4 million pandemic-era job losses will be restored.

“If the unemployment rate does drop further as many economists expect, the job market will remain tight or tighten further,” says Mark Hamrick, Bankrate senior economic analyst and Washington bureau chief. “That will translate to solid job security and wage growth, effectively money in the bank.”