August jobs numbers are bad, but there’s a silver lining

Skilled residential contractor workforce increased in August

The U.S. economy produced just 235,000 new jobs in August, far below economists’ expectations of 725,000 jobs.

It was the slowest month of growth since January 2021. Roughly one million jobs were produced in the months of both June and July.

“There’s no question that the Delta variant is why today’s job report isn’t stronger,” President Joe Biden said Friday. “I know people were looking, and I was hoping, for a higher number.”

Prior months’ data suggested that employers were ready to increase production to meet consumer demand, but the delta variant impacted hiring, said Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association‘s vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

“Also, this was the first time in six months that leisure and hospitality hiring did not show a gain and the second month in a row that retail trade saw a decline,” he said. “Overall payroll employment is still 3.5% below where it was pre-pandemic. And the leisure and hospitality sector remained 10% behind.”

The Labor Department report on Friday shows an unemployment rate of 5.2% compared with 5.4% in July, and job gains were concentrated in the professional and business services sectors.

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