U.S. Economy Added Just 235,000 Jobs in August, Way Short of Economists’ Projections

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The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people decreased to 8.4 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Economists projected 720,000 Americans — roughly three times the actual number — would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Despite the delta variant, there is still an opening up of the service sector of the U.S. economy,” Nationwide Mutual Insurance Chief Economist David Berson told the WSJ. “While that started some months ago, it’s not nearly complete.”

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U.S. Economy Added Whopping 943,000 Jobs in July as Recovery Accelerates

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The U.S. economy reported an increase of 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons decreased to 8.7 million. Economists projected 845,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The jobs recovery is continuing, but it’s different in character to any we’ve seen before,” payroll software firm ADP economist Nela Richardson told the WSJ. “I had been looking at September as a point when we could gain momentum—with schools back in session and vaccines widely available. But with the delta variant, we need to rethink that.”

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Labor Shortage Slows Oil Production in Major Fracking State

A shortage of workers has contributed to a significant crude oil production slowdown in North Dakota, the second-largest U.S. oil hub behind only Texas.

The labor shortage has caused oil output to become “flat as a pancake,” North Dakota State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told The Bismarck Tribune. Energy companies have struggled to find workers needed to do the laborious work — injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells to extract oil — associated with fracking.

“Most of these folks went to Texas where activity was still significantly higher than it was here, where they didn’t have winter and where there were jobs in their industry,” Helms said, according to the Tribune. “It’s going to take higher pay and housing incentives and that sort of thing to get them here.”

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Michigan Jobs 322,000 Under Pre-Pandemic Level

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Sixteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Michigan is still behind 322,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic in Feb. 2020. 

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 5% percent was unchanged in June, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators were little changed in June,” Wayne Rourke, the associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “The Michigan unemployment rate has been near 5.0 percent for five consecutive months. Payroll job counts in June were similar to March levels.”

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Gov. Whitmer Secures $10 Million Grant to Expand Employment Opportunities

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has been awarded a $10 million federal grant to support the state’s registered apprenticeship expansion efforts.

“As we put Michigan back to work, Registered Apprenticeship programs offer on-ramps to high-demand, high-skill careers, and in Michigan we have committed to expanding these educational opportunities to ensure more Michiganders can get good-paying jobs,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“Increasing access to education and training opportunities will help us achieve our 60 by 30 goal to have 60% of Michigan’s adult with post-secondary education or skills training by 2030, improve the quality of life and help Michiganders secure good-paying jobs, and ensure businesses have the workforce they need to succeed and grow our economy.” 

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Economy Added 850,000 Jobs in June, Well Above Economists’ Forecasts

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The U.S. economy reported an increase of 850,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.9%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons increased to 9.5 million. Economists projected 700,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“This is a trickier phase of the recovery,” Wells Fargo senior economist Sarah House told The New York Times.

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Commentary: Minimum Wage Hikes Led to Lower Worker Compensation, New Research Shows

Opponents of minimum wage laws tend to focus their criticism on one particular adverse consequence: by artificially raising the price of labor, they reduce employment, particularly for the most vulnerable in society.

“Minimum wage laws tragically generate unemployment, especially so among the poorest and least skilled or educated workers,” economist Murray Rothbard wrote in 1978. “Because a minimum wage, of course, does not guarantee any worker’s employment; it only prohibits, by force of law, anyone from being hired at the wage which would pay his employer to hire him.

Though some economists, such as Paul Krugman, reject Rothbard’s claim, a recent study found the overwhelming body of academic research supports the idea that minimum wage laws increase unemployment.

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‘Operation Warp Speed for Jobs’: Worker Shortage Is Getting Worse, U.S. Chamber Says

Construction workers

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce characterized the worker shortage as a crisis that is hurting businesses of all sizes and slowing the nation’s economic recovery.

The biggest challenge U.S. businesses currently face is the lack of qualified workers to fill open jobs, according to the Chamber of Commerce’s America Works Report released Tuesday morning. The national Worker Availability Ratio (WAR) — or ratio of number of available workers to number of available jobs — has dropped over the last several months, the report found.

The current WAR is 1.4, meaning for every job opening there are one or two workers available, according to the America Works Report. The historical WAR average over the last 20 years is 2.8.

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Analysis: Jobs, Housing Show Recovery Continues

There were only two insightful reports on the economy this past week—for jobs and housing. Both show impressive gains.

Weekly initial unemployment claims fell by 56,000, to 787,000. They are down more than 100,000 from a month ago. There has also been a substantial decline in the insured unemployment rate to 5.7 percent from 8.7 percent a month ago. Also, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance payments fell to 8.4 million; it was 12.6 million a month ago.

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Commentary: 4.4 Million Lose Unemployment Benefits Since August as Pelosi Puts Politics Above People

Small business relief, supporting 5.2 million small businesses and 50 million jobs, ran out on Aug. 8 and airlines ran out of money last month as massive layoffs have been ensuing.

In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) continues to refuse a deal from President Donald Trump to extend these CARES Act programs — even if it means she loses a few seats in the House over it.

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CVS to Hire 15,000 Employees in Preparation for Flu Season, COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

CVS Health announced that it would bring on approximately 15,000 additional workers in preparation for the upcoming flu season and an expected rise in coronavirus cases before the distribution of an eventual vaccine.

The hirings will take place before the year’s end, the company said Monday in a statement. Though most of the positions are temporary, many could transition into full-time positions, CVS said.

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661,000 Jobs Added in September, Less Than Expected

The U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September, while unemployment fell to 7.9%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 1 million to 12.6 million.

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