Things are picking up. All that employer demand is turning into jobs and higher wages for many workers. While labor supply may not be as responsive as some employers might like, they are adding jobs at an increasing rate. This pace of progress is solid and it looks like things can get even better.

The continued improvement for the leisure and hospitality sector is excellent news. Continued payroll gains for these industries hit so hard by the pandemic is a sign that more workers can quickly return to work. About 23% of the total gains in June were for food services and drinking places industries, or restaurants and bars.

Women in their prime working years were especially impacted during the crisis, but saw solid pickup last month. Labor force participation for women ages 25 to 54 rose 0.4 percentage points. Prime-age men did see an increase as well, but the gain was proportionately larger for women. 

There is still progress to be made. Employment in leisure and hospitality is still 12.9% below its pre-pandemic level and prime-age labor force participation for women is down 1.8%. And overall employment is still 9.5 million jobs below where it would have been absent the pandemic.

There’s quite a bit of damage left to repair, but today’s report suggests that we may rebuild sooner rather than later.