Correspondent in New York
The month of September was marked on the US calendar as the beginning of the definitive recovery of employment: advance of vaccination for the Covid-19, return of the schools in person, reopening of many offices and, above all, the end of a large number of unemployment benefit programs, which many accused of having slowed the re-entry of the unemployed into the market.
The employment data for September, however, has disappointed those expectations. Compared to the half a million that analysts expected, the economy of USA it only added 194,000 jobs in the past month, according to data published this Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is almost half that of August, when 366,000 jobs were added, and much less than July, when there were almost a million. Despite everything, unemployment fell from 5.2% in August to 4.8% in September.
The determining factor for this poor performance is the variant Delta of the covid. The surge caused by it in the US reached its peak in mid-September, just at the time when most of the data is collected to compile the data.
With infections, hospitalizations and deaths skyrocketing, at levels not seen since last winter, employment has not recovered. Many Americans have yet to go back to restaurants, traveling, or spending on entertainment, with the impact that has on industries. Many others still prefer to stay at home, throw away savings or informal jobs, instead of accepting jobs with risk of infection. Others may have decided to retire early.
The result is that vacant jobs on offer are at an all-time high and employers are forced to offer higher salary incentives to find workers.
It is possible that the picture of the situation is better than what the September data paints and that, once the Delta peak has passed, the labor market has picked up more pace at the end of September. With the fall in infections, there is some optimism about the recovery of employment. But also concern about possible new waves of covid this winter.
On the eve, Joe biden He insisted on the importance of vaccination for economic recovery. He cited an economist who called the vaccine “the greatest economic stimulus ever created” and assured that immunizations “will bring people back to the job market.”
“The unvaccinated put our economy at risk, because people are reluctant to go out,” said the US president. in case they get infected.