New Burning Glass Institute Report: Jobs Numbers Hide Significant Shifts in the Economy

New Burning Glass Institute Report: Jobs Numbers Hide Significant Shifts in the Economy
Philadelphia, PA, May 11, 2022 --( The April jobs report shows that the post-pandemic recovery continues at pace, with the economy having add 428,000 jobs. But as The Burning Glass Institute’s latest report The Through-the-Looking-Glass Recovery illustrates, behind those growing numbers is the sobering fact that nearly one in six U.S. industries have not recovered from a jobs decline of 10% or more. The new report offers intriguing insight to the monthly job numbers and provides data on industry occupations which paint an intriguing picture of the complexity of the U.S. jobs market.

"The pandemic expedited a permanent shake-up of U.S. industries," said Matt Sigelman, President of The Burning Glass Institute. "While the economy sustained massive employment loss in the early days of the pandemic, the job market has now returned to 99% of its prior strength, which is much faster than previous recoveries. But the economy we have returned to is not the one we left behind."

The Through-the-Looking-Glass Recovery looks at important structural and cyclical changes that have been at play beneath the rosy recovery statistics. The total numbers hide significant changes in the job market. While there are industries experiencing a boom—employment has grown by at least 10% in 53 industries—the aggregate number masks displacement. Hard-hit sectors have shed more than 3 million jobs, and the combined churn of jobs lost in declining sectors and those created in booming ones is close to 6 million.

The Through-the-Looking-Glass Recovery documents six secular trends that are at play in reshaping the employment landscape and highlights which ones are likely to be permanent. The report maps how major shifts in consumer and business behavior – from the grounding of business travel to the rise of remote work to the shift to online commerce – translate to labor market disruptions. Many of these changes represent the acceleration of prior trends while others represent dramatic reversals.

In this context, worker displacement is a significant issue. As jobs shift from one industry to another, the possibility of mismatch between supply and demand is considerable. The Through-the-Looking-Glass Recovery gives insight into where mismatches could be at play.

The labor market will never return to its pre-pandemic shape. Understanding the changes in the labor market and whether they are likely to be permanent will be critical to minimizing mismatches and to addressing today’s acute talent shortages. The report lays out how educators can respond by realigning the programs they offer to accord with this new opportunity landscape, how employers can work proactively to build talent pipelines for emerging demand, and how policymakers can help workers and industry bridge the gaps between them.

About The Burning Glass Institute
The Burning Glass Institute advances data-driven research and practice on the future of work and of workers. Situated at the intersection of learning and work, the organization collaborates with educators, employers, and policymakers to develop solutions that build mobility, opportunity, and equity through skills. For more information visit
Burning Glass Institute
Cathleen Healy