Labor Day 2022: Where are we?

This year we celebrate nation's tribute to the 128th official Labor Day.  On this Labor Day, about 157.5 million Americans have jobs. 

"Compared to Labor Day a year ago, we've recovered nearly all of the jobs we lost during the pandemic. We have very, very strong job growth  here in California over the past year.  The unemployment rate is near the lowest rate we've seen in the last 50 years," said Employment Lawyer and  Former EDD Director Michael Bernick.

But, Bernick siad this is also the strangest Labor Day he has seen in his 43 years in employment law. 

"We have the very strange dynamic of a shortage of workers," said Bernick.

As of Monday, there are a record 11.2 million job openings, a near reord number, with not nearly enough Americans willing to take them.

Since last Labor Day, wages have gone up an average of 5.2% but, according to Bernickm, inflation is up 8.5% and wo

kers are falling back. 

In the last year, notable votes for unions at large companies like Amazon, Apple and Starbucks suggest labor is on the rise. 

"Unionization in the public sector In California is high. In the private sector it remains very modest," said Bernick.

One other significant change since last Labor Day, the emergence of so-called "quiet quitters," People who opted to do the bare-bones minimum needed to keep their jobs so that can have a happier, more well-rounded life. 

"We'll see if this retreat from work continues as getting and holding a job becomes more difficult," said Bernick.

Bernick says the big issue now is the same as when he was new to employment law back in 1979, the enormous wage gaps.