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September Jobs Report Falls Far Short of Estimated 500,000

The September jobs report showed nonfarm payrolls increase by 194,000 during the month of September. Released Friday, October 8th, the Labor Department’s jobs report leads most market watchers to agree that the virus is still controlling employment numbers. The number of new jobs last month falls short of the most conservative guesses.

Delta Variant Restrictive Factor

With hopes that we would have much stronger jobs numbers as a result of children returning to school coupled with the expiration of the supplemental unemployment benefits, the country instead suffered lower-than-expected jobs numbers due, many believe, to the Delta variant. Despite the disappointing job numbers, the unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, the lowest since February 2020 and better than the expected 5.1% while it’s possible that people simply stopped looking for jobs.

Professional and Business Services Among Job Creators

“Unchanged” or “little changed” were frequent phrases in the jobs report, indicating that the economy is stalled. Even in the industries where there were job gains, the gains were not significant. Still, at a deficit compared to pre-pandemic numbers, leisure and hospitality added jobs, albeit at a much slower pace than in previous reports. Professional and business services and retail joined leisure and hospitality in leading job creation.

With slower growth in part due to job losses, the healthcare sector is suffering as a result of patients delaying elective surgery along with healthcare facilities experiencing hiring challenges. And with the loss of thousands of government jobs, the September jobs report proved disappointing to many, especially the current administration.

When the August jobs number came in at 235,000 new jobs last month, most people dismissed the low number as an anomaly and felt confident that the September jobs number would make up for it. The economy poses many more challenges than forecasters have predicted.

Hurricane Ida Among Other Factors Affecting Jobs

Other factors impacting the September jobs report include Hurricane Ida, the Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in Louisiana. Also, caretakers are still not able to return to work because they are staying home and taking care of their families in the absence of childcare in many parts of the country, not to mention many children are being sent home from school. School has yet to return to a normal schedule that would allow both parents to return to full-time work. To complicate matters, the supply chain issues are forecast to continue causing hiccups in the economy until March of next year, further impacting job growth.

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