US employers added a sluggish 194,000 jobs in September, way less than expected
WASHINGTON (AP) — US employers added a sluggish 194,000 jobs in September, as the Biden Administration continues to blame the Delta variant for keeping a grip on the economy.
Friday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that the unemployment rate sank last month from 5.2% to 4.8%. The rate fell in part because more people found jobs but also because about 180,000 fewer people looked for work in September, which meant they weren’t counted as unemployed.
September’s sluggish job gains fell shy of even the modest 336,000 that the economy had added in August and were the fewest since December, when employers actually cut jobs.
The economy is showing some signs of emerging from the drag of the delta variant of the coronavirus, with confirmed new COVID-19 infections declining, restaurant traffic picking up slightly and consumers willing to spend. But new infections remained high as September began. And employers are still struggling to find workers because many people who lost jobs in the pandemic have yet to start looking again.
The AP reports, “The proportion of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one — known as labor force participation — declined in September from 61.7% to 61.6%, well below the pre-pandemic level of 63.3%.”
Adding, “the drop in labor force participation occurred entirely among women, suggesting that many working mothers are still caring for children at home. For men, labor participation was unchanged. Some after-school programs weren’t yet in place last month to provide all-day care. And child care has become scarcer and costlier in many cases.”
The disappointing jobs report comes as President Joe Biden continues to urge companies to mandate vaccinations among their employees, forcing countless Americans to be laid off across the nation, including nurses and healthcare workers who were praised as heroes throughout the pandemic.