Delta variant slows job growth
U.S. employers added only 196,000 positions last month, down from 336,000 new jobs in August. The Labor Department’s September data showed disappointing metrics for job growth as companies continue struggling to fill open positions and the pandemic stalls office returns and hiring. Enhanced unemployment benefit programs ended in early September, but there was no surge in job applicants. The unemployment rate fell from 5.2 percent to 4.8, which President Joe Biden called “real economic progress.” But more than 180,000 people who lost their jobs during the pandemic are not looking for new ones and do not count as unemployed. In the recession following March 2020, U.S. workers lost 22 million jobs. So far, employers have added 17 million back.
Why aren’t people going back to work? Economists had hoped more parents would reenter the workforce when school started in September. But rising rates of school quarantines are keeping families home. Some parents have decided to keep young children at home rather than enroll them in daycare. Retirement rates are also surging. Economists are confused that hiring remains low while job openings sit at a record high.
Dig deeper: Listen to David Bahnsen discuss economic incentives and the job market on The World and Everything in It podcast.
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