New York (CNN Business)America’s jobs recovery hit a major roadblock in August as the Delta variant threatened the labor market recovery, and the US economy added far fewer jobs than expected.
Only 235,000 jobs were added back to the economy last month, the lowest number since January, vastly missing economists’ expectations.
In normal times that would have been a reason to celebrate, but nowadays it’s a sharp slowdown from the buoyant jobs reports earlier in the summer. Friday’s report fell far short of economists’ already reduced expectations: Predictions for Friday’s jobs report had been revised down to 728,000 from 750,000 earlier after Wednesday’s ADP Employment Report, which count private payrolls, also disappointed.
Nearly a year and a half into the recovery, the US economy remains 5.3 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020, before Covid-19 threw a wrench into the gears.
Last month, 5.6 million people said they hadn’t been able to work or worked reduced hours because their employer was affected by the pandemic.
The leisure and hospitality industry, which led job gains during much of the recovery after the sector got hit the hardest during lockdowns, wasn’t among the top hirers in August. Instead, professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education and manufacturing recorded the biggest job gains. In leisure and hospitality, jobs were mostly unchanged in August, but restaurants and bars registered a loss of 42,000 jobs.
Amid all the bad news, there were also some silver linings: The unemployment rate fell to 5.2% in August from 5.4% before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Also, the job gains for July were revised up to 1.1 million, the first gain of a million jobs or more since August 2020.
This is a developing story. It will be updated
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