Friday, November 5, 2021

October Employment Roars Back

 Popular Economics Weekly


Who said the labor shortage is holding back job gains? Not for the moment. It looks like the roaring 2020s are beginning to roar in earnest this fall as we slowly exit the pandemic.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 531,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down by 0.2 percentage point to 4.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

“Job growth was widespread, with notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in public education declined over the month.”

People are returning to work, in part because 9 million lost jobless benefits in September as the federal extended unemployment insurance program was terminated.

The government revised the number of new jobs created in September to 312,000 from 194,000, based on new information from the businesses surveyed, said MarketWatch. And the job gains in August were raised to 483,000 from 366,000.

A total of 5.6 million payroll jobs have been created this year to date and average hourly wages have increased 4.6 percent. President Biden touted that these numbers showed that the U.S. now had the fastest job growth in the developed world.

Leisure and Hospitality, Education & Health, and Professional/Business added 320,000 jobs, manufacturing and construction added 104,000 jobs, while governments lost 73,000 jobs (from a loss in public education).

The service sector is roaring back, in other words, as restaurants, hotels, theaters and other companies in the hospitality business created 164,000 new jobs last month.

The jump in payroll employment was presaged by a recent poll of senior business executives in service-oriented companies, such as retailers and banks that rebounded to a three-month high of 58.2 from 54.9 in September, IHS Markit said Friday.

A similar survey of manufacturing activity slipped to 59.2 from 60.7, but it was still quite high. Any reading over 50 signals growth and numbers are above 55 are exceptional.

Another reason for the payroll surge is the COVID infection rate continues to decline. This is in part because 70 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated, a total of 193 million Americans

“The current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (68,793) decreased 7.4% compared with the previous 7-day moving average (74,290). A total of 45,655,635 COVID-19 cases have been reported as of October 27, 2021,” reported the CDC.

And there is reason to believe even more workers will return to their jobs this fall and winter—especially moms as their children return to schools and become vaccinated with the new children’s’ vaccines.

What could dim this optimistic prediction? Very little, in my opinion. The euro area is also roaring back with an annual growth rate of 9 percent last quarter, according to Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.

And the rest of the world is slowly recovering from the pandemic. It’s really a matter of continuing to vaccinate the unvaccinated worldwide, which means restoring the supply-chains in this deeply interconnected world.

Is there anything that could prevent it from being restored? Maybe another war with…? Let’s hope not.

Harlan Green © 2021

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