After some steady improvements, August proved to be a disappointing month for the economy. According to the latest data released by the Labor Department, workers’ left their jobs at record levels. In addition, job creation for August was significantly less than experts forecasted.
The quits rate — the measurement of workers who leave jobs voluntarily — reached a record high of 2.9% in August, with 4.3 million people departing their positions.
The number of job availabilities fell 5.9% in August compared to July — a month with a record level of openings — but remained up to 61.8% compared to August 2020.
Employment rose by 235,000; the Labor Department reported was well below what economists had expected and made August one of the weakest months for hiring since the recovery began more than a year ago.
The slower growth may reflect ongoing concerns about the Delta variant.
“Delta is reducing consumer demand and threatening the reopening,” said Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao. “Ultimately, it’s just a harsh reminder that the pandemic has control of our destiny,” he told CNN Business.
Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added an average of 350,000 jobs a month for the last six months, was level in August, as restaurants, bars, and other foodservice establishments shed 42,000 jobs, offsetting some gains made by arts, entertainment, and recreation facilities. Retail lost 29,000 jobs.
Job growth in August was driven by 74,000 positions added in professional and business services, 40,000 in private education, and 37,000 in manufacturing.