September was another letdown for U.S. jobs.
Only 194,000 non-farm payrolls were added this past September, according to Friday results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The results fell short of economists’ predictions for an increase of 500,000 jobs this month and marked a decline from the 235,000 jobs added in August.
The unemployment rate fell by a 0.4 percentage point to 4.8% in September, beating expectations of 5.1%. Overall, 7.7 million people were unemployed last month, down 710,000 people. These rates represent a general drop in unemployment since April of 2020, but still sit above pre-pandemic unemployment levels.
September’s results continue the downward trend of August’s disappointing jobs report, as the economy continues to see impact from the spread of the Delta variant.
The most notable job gains were seen across the hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing industries. Notably, retail employment rose by 56,000 jobs after two months of little growth.
As the holidays approach, major retailers like Walmart, Kohl’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are looking to hire thousands of workers to meet demand this season. However, a reluctance for workers to return to stressful retail jobs with low pay and unreliable hours has led to a major labor shortage across the industry. To attract and retain talent, some retailers have introduced increased pay and benefits.
This week, for example, Target said it will offer certain employees an additional $2 per hour for certain weekends and holidays worked during the holiday season. Hourly store, service center, and certain headquarters employees will be eligible for the pay increase on Saturdays and Sundays between Nov. 20 and Dec. 19, as well as Friday, Dec. 24 and Sunday, Dec. 26. Hourly supply chain employees will see the pay bump during a two-week period between Oct. 10 and Dec. 18.