WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) – America’s employers created just 235,000 jobs in August, a surprisingly small increase after two months of robust hiring at a time when the proliferation of the Delta variant has kept some people from flying, shopping, and eating.
However, the overall unemployment rate fell from 5.4% in July to 5.2%.
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The report, released by the Labor Department on Friday, fell short of the roughly 940,000 employers had added in each of the previous two months as vaccination rates allowed the economy to reopen fully from previous pandemic restrictions. Still, the number of job openings remains at record levels and new hires are expected to remain solid over the coming months.
With the spread of vaccinations, economists hoped that as fear of viral infection subsided, more people would eagerly take jobs. Schools and day care centers would reopen so that more parents, especially women, could look for work. And with a federal unemployment allowance of $ 300 a week running out next week, Fed chairman Jerome Powell and others speculated that more unemployed would be looking for work.
President Joe Biden admitted he wanted to see more new jobs but argued that wages are rising and jobs have been added in every report since he took office.
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He also called on Congress to pass its two economic plans, which he says will help the average American and job growth.
“Now we need Congress to get through for the American economy,” said Biden. He added his dismay that no Republican supported his spending plan.
Biden insisted that record stock markets and billionaire profits this year show how desperate his planned corporate tax rate reforms are in his economic plan.
Regarding the companies that use lobbyists to avoid changes to the tax law, Biden said, “Let me be very clear, I’ll take them over.”
“Just pay your fair share,” said Biden.
Now, however, the spread of the Delta variant of the virus has challenged some of those expectations. As COVID cases increased in July and August, Americans bought fewer plane tickets and reduced hotel stays. Food in restaurants, having fully recovered in late June, has fallen to around 10% below pre-pandemic levels.
Still, there is evidence that many companies are still looking for employees, especially those who do not work in public service industries such as restaurants and bars. The job board website Indeed says the number of vacancies increased in August, led by sectors such as information technology and finance, where many employees can work from home.
Walmart announced this week that it will be hiring 20,000 people to expand its supply chain and online shopping operations, including jobs for order fillers, drivers and managers. Amazon said Wednesday that it plans to fill 40,000 positions in the US, mostly technology and hourly positions.
And Fidelity Investments said Tuesday that it will create 9,000 more jobs, including in customer service and IT.