The Labor Department’s recent employment report revealed that September created the fewest jobs in nine months, as nonfarm payrolls increased by only 194,000. This is much lower than expected, as the recent decrease in jobless claims led many to believe that the jobs report for September would be good. Fewer school jobs and worker shortages continue to harm the overall employment situation in the United States, as a result.
While private payrolls did rise by 317,000, government payrolls dropped by 123,000. According to the report, jobs in schools dropped in hiring. Employment overall in the United States is now about 5 million below what it was when it last peaked in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic began and changed everything.
While this latest jobs report is disheartening to some, many economists are choosing to look towards the bright side. While many did think that September would see a much larger gain, economists state that people are still worried to return to work, as they still have COVID-19 concerns. However, the Delta variant has slowed its spread down, and COVID-19 infections have since slowed down as a result. If this sticks and infections no longer skyrocket around the nation, then we could see an increase in hiring as more people return to the workforce.
Previously, economists hoped that students returning to school would allow many workers to return to the workforce. Childcare has been difficult for many, as daycares have been hit hard by labor shortages around the country. Many workers have potentially stayed home during the summer to care for their children. As a result, as these students return to school, it was thought that workers would also return to the workforce.
There isn’t accurate data to suggest that this has yet happened, as both August and September data have revealed a small increase in job hirings. However, many schools didn’t begin until September this year, so we might not see these types of jobs being created until October. If COVID-19 cases also subside during this time, then October and the remaining months of the year could see larger job hires.
The Labor Department’s employment report also revealed that average hourly earnings increased by about 0.6%. Many businesses, because they’ve been hit hard by these labor shortages, have begun to increase their hourly wages. Some companies have even started offering signing bonuses to help sway people to work for them.
The Labor Department’s report clarified a few things about unemployment. While the country did experience a slowdown in weekly jobless claims, it does appear as if this drop in claims is because people are completely leaving the workforce, whether for retirement or another purpose. Therefore, we may continue to see a rise in retirements — something the pandemic ignited — which may also continue to hinder the labor market.
Education jobs, both private and public, also fell, according to the report. Private education jobs fell by about 19,000. While most back-to-school hiring occurs during September, the pandemic has affected how schools and education run, so we may see an increase in hirings in public and private education in the near future.