Hiring fell far below economist’s expectations last month.
Hiring in the U.S. fell far below expectations last month, with employers adding just 194,000 jobs versus the expected 500,000, the Department of Labor said Friday.
The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.8%, the DOL added, but the latest hiring data comes after dismal job growth seen in August as well. Some 366,000 jobs were added in August, according to revised data released on Friday, and over a million jobs were added in July.
The more-contagious delta variant’s impact on the recovery is likely reflected in the disappointing figures, as the labor market still finds itself at the mercy of the virus. The unemployment rate still remains elevated compared to the pre-pandemic 3.5% seen in February 2020.
Notable job gains last month occurred in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry, which added some 74,000 jobs. Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by some 1.6 million jobs, or 9.4%, compared to data before the COVID-19 shock.
Job growth in September was also seen in professional and business services (where hiring rose by some 60,000), retail trade (which saw an increase of 56,000 jobs), and transportation and warehousing (which gained 47,000 jobs).
Approximately 13.2% of workers teleworked last month due to the pandemic, the DOL said, reflecting a trend that economists predict is likely here to stay even when the virus threat recedes.
Meanwhile, disparities in the pandemic’s impact is still reflected in the latest data. The unemployment rate for white workers was 4.2% last month compared to 7.9% for Black workers and 6.3% for Hispanic workers.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates soon.