The unemployment rate that stood at 4.8 percent in September has dropped to 4.6 percent in October, defying economists’ predictions of 450,000 jobs being added to the economy.
According to the Bureau of Statistics’ latest release as of Friday, the economy added 531,000 jobs in October following a disappointing September release that reported 194,000 jobs getting added.
In President Joe Biden’s remarks at the White House on Friday, he said, “America is getting back to work. Our economy is starting to work for more Americans. Before we passed the Rescue Plan, forecasters said it would take until the end of 2023 to get to a 4.6 percent unemployment rate. Today, we’ve reached that rate two years before forecasters thought it was possible.”
Labor market experts have predicted a rebound for unemployment numbers for October, based on the reducing COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country and the increasing “high-frequency” metrics like restaurant reservations and airport passenger traffic. A private-sector jobs report from payroll processor placed job growth in October at 571,000, a better figure made possible by the addition of 185,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry.
Describing the reason for the slowdown, Daniel Zoho, senior economist at Glassdoor.com, cites the delta variant as a significant reason for the slowdown over the last few months. “As cases of Covid-19 start to fall, we expect that the recovery will be accelerated,” he said.
Economists say the contours of a post-COVID economy are slowly coming into focus. The part that is already clear is how the pandemic changed the contours of the American workforce. What this means is its direct implications on the lagging participation of women in the labor force.
The pandemic changed a lot for the workforce, with the largest implications on women. “The reality is we’ve become accustomed to having the opportunity and the ease of being able to do a lot of things at home,” co-head of the public markets group in U.S. Bank Wealth Management Lisa Erickson said. “What the pandemic really did is accelerated and cemented that behavior.”
How many Americans relate to their jobs has changed since the pandemic broke out. “People are reassessing their life choice,” Erickson said. Senior economist at Euler Hermes North America, Dan North, also said, “I think the shrinkage is permanent because people are now demanding that they have work-from-home schedules, and if they don’t get them, they go somewhere else. So that’s going to reduce the demand for office space.”
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