A disappointing 235,000 jobs were created in August, according to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report, even as strong June and July numbers were revised upward by a combined 134,000. Average monthly jobs growth so far in 2021 is 586,000.
Friday’s report shows the toll the delta variant of the coronavirus is taking on the economy, in particular in leisure and hospitality. After driving jobs gains for months, adding 2.1 million jobs between February and July, there were no gains in the industry in August, and wage growth slowed, the Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz noted. And once again, despite all the Republican yelling about people not wanting to work, the key problem is consumers not feeling safe. “With COVID cases having spiked this summer, Americans have been buying fewer plane tickets and reducing hotel stays,” the AP reports. “Restaurant dining, after having fully recovered in late June, has declined to about 10% below pre-pandemic levels.”
“The proportion of Americans with jobs or searching for one was flat in August,” the AP points out, providing still more evidence that Republican governors’ cutoffs of added federal unemployment benefits didn’t boost job-searching in those states. This isn’t the first indication of that: Previous data also showed the Republican moves didn’t do what they claimed. They did cause pain, though, which is what Republicans really intended all along.
State and local governments are another problem spot in the economy, having lost 815,000 jobs since February 2020, about half in education, EPI’s Elise Gould wrote. Additionally:
We knew that delta was bad news. The August jobs report shows that its effects have spread through the economy just as they’ve spread through crowded hospitals. As usual, the pain isn’t equally distributed, with vulnerable people taking an extra hard hit.
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