WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) – America’s employers created 194,000 jobs in September, the second month of relatively poor earnings and evidence that the pandemic is still in control of the economy as many companies struggle to fill millions of open positions .
However, the overall unemployment rate fell from 5.2% to 4.8%.
The report, released by the Labor Department on Friday, showed that while the economy is showing signs of moving away from the delta, labor shortages are still plaguing employers and supply chain problems are crippling businesses.
New infections with COVID-19 remained high at the beginning of September. As restaurant traffic increased and consumers continued to spend money, employers are still struggling to find workers as many people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic have not yet returned to search. Supply chain bottlenecks have also worsened, factories slowed, home builders restricted, and some store shelves emptied.
Many economists still believe that most of the roughly 3 million people who have lost their jobs and stopped looking for work since the pandemic outbreak will resume their searches once the COVID wears off. It took years after the 2008-2009 recession for the proportion of people working or looking for work to return to pre-recession levels. The government does not count people as unemployed unless they are actively looking for work.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to 326,000 last week, another sign that the U.S. labor market and economy is steadily recovering from last year’s coronavirus recession. However, this was the first time in four weeks that unemployment claims fell.
Several expanded unemployment benefits ended in early September, including a federal allowance of $ 300 per week, as well as programs that for the first time covered gig workers and people who were unemployed for six months or more. So far, the discontinuation of these programs appears to have had little impact on the number of jobseekers.
Governors in about 25 states ended the $ 300 perk before it expired statewide in September. Research by Goldman Sachs economists found that unemployed people looking for work were much more likely to take a job when their benefits ended. But the early interruptions didn’t mean people on the sidelines started searching again, Goldman concluded.
In the meantime, fear of COVID continues to keep some potential job seekers on the sidelines, especially those who have previously worked in public service jobs in restaurants, bars, hotels and retailers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.