New jobs increased by 194,000 in September, a far cry from economists’ estimates of 500,000 and a big dip from August’s 366,000 and 1.1 million jobs added in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday (Oct. 8).
This latest monthly report reflects the biggest decline in job creation in 2021 and the worst tally since December of 2020. This is the second month in a row that headline data missed forecasts.
Leisure and hospitality led job creation with 74,000 positions, while professional and business services added 60,000 jobs and retail increased by 56,000. Across other industries, transportation and warehousing added 47,000 positions; information, 32,000; social assistance, 30,000; manufacturing, 26,000; wholesale trade 17,000; and construction, 22,000.
“This is quite a deflating report,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed. “This year has been one of false dawns for the labor market. Demand for workers is strong, and millions of people want to return to work, but employment growth has yet to find its footing.”
He added that as new COVID-19 cases continue to decline, upcoming months should show stronger numbers. “But the reality is that we are still in a pandemic,” Bunker said.
The new data was culled in mid-September, when the delta variant of the virus was close to its peak. In the weeks since that point, cases and hospitalizations have declined across most of the U.S.
“This report is a glance in the rearview mirror,” Daniel Zhao, an economist at the career site Glassdoor, said in a statement. “There should be some optimism that there should be a reacceleration in October.”
He added that the “severe imbalance in labor supply and demand” is anticipated to continue for the time being, with employers facing competition for employees.