Employers in the United States gained only 235,000 jobs in August, a shockingly low rise after two months of robust hiring at a time when the delta variant's spread has discouraged some people from traveling, shopping, and dining out.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the jobless rate fell to 5.2 percent in August, down from 5.4 percent in July.
The government's August job gains fell significantly short of the roughly 940,000 jobs added in each of the previous two months, when universal vaccinations allowed the economy to completely reopen from pandemic restrictions. Nonetheless, the number of job opportunities is at an all-time high, and hiring is likely to remain steady in the coming months.
Supply shortages have also fueled an inflationary rise, with consumer prices rising by the most in three decades in July, according to the Fed's chosen measure. Rising inflation expectations have contributed to a dramatic decline in consumer confidence.
Despite the fact that the participation rate remained stable at 61.7 percent, approximately 190,000 persons entered the labor force last month. Even more positive, the number of those who lost their jobs permanently fell by 443,000 to 2.5 million. The number of long-term unemployed fell to 3.2 million in March, down from 3.4 million the previous month.
They made up 37.4 percent of the 8.4 million officially unemployed people, a decrease from 39.3 percent in July. The average length of unemployment declined to 14.7 weeks in August, down from 15.2 weeks in July.
Nonetheless, there are indications that many businesses, particularly those not in public-facing service industries such as restaurants and bars, are still wanting to hire. According to the job search website Indeed, the number of available jobs increased in August, led by industries such as information technology and finance, where many employees can work from home.
This week, Walmart said that it will hire 20,000 individuals to enhance its supply chain and online shopping operations, including order fillers, drivers, and managers. Amazon announced on Wednesday that it is trying to fill 40,000 jobs in the United States, primarily in technical and hourly positions.