Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in August and 5.3 percent over the past 12 months, according to data released Tuesday by the Labor Department 

Monthly growth in the consumer price index (CPI), a closely watched gauge of inflation, fell for the second consecutive month, dropping from a July increase of 0.5 percent. Economists expected the CPI to grow by 0.4 percent last month.

Annual growth in the CPI — one of several ways to measure yearly inflation — also fell from a 5.4 percent rate in July, the highest rate since August 2008. Excluding food and energy prices, which are more volatile, the CPI rose 4 percent over the past 12 months and just 0.1 percent in August.

While inflation remains close to decade-plus highs, the continued slowdown in price growth may help President BidenJoe BidenBiden stumps for Newsom on eve of recall: ‘The eyes of the nation are on California’ Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Family of American held hostage by Taliban urges administration to fire Afghanistan peace negotiator MORE and Democrats soothe concerns about the rising cost of living as they attempt to pass a sprawling economic agenda. Republicans have sought to blame Biden and congressional Democrats for the recent run-up in price growth with slightly more than a year until the midterm elections.

The decline may also relieve some pressure on the Federal Reserve to begin pulling back on bond purchases meant to keep borrowing costs low, especially as the delta variant continues to roil the U.S. economy.

“The August CPI report showed further moderation in the monthly gain in consumer inflation, especially at the core level,” wrote Kathy Bostjancic of Oxford Economics.

“Headline CPI advanced by a solid 0.3%, though this is much softer than the outsized increases recorded in the prior five months,” she added. 

Economists expected inflation to cool slightly after a summer rush of travel and leisure spending drove price growth to remarkably high levels following steep declines in 2020.

Prices for airline fares, used cars and trucks, and motor vehicle insurance all fell in August after skyrocketing through most of the spring and summer. The CPI for used autos, which drove much of the summer’s increase in inflation, fell 1.5 percent in August but is still 31.9 percent higher than the same point in 2020.

Monthly inflation for groceries, restaurant and takeout meals, new vehicles, and shelter also fell in August. The rate of price growth for gasoline rose 0.4 percent in August, but the cost of fuel oil fell 2.1 percent last month as well.

The slowdown in inflation comes at a critical time for Biden and congressional Democrats as they race to write and pass a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and social services bill, strike a deal with Republicans to fund the federal government and raise the country’s borrowing limit.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Tester says ‘100 percent’ of reconciliation package must be paid for Overnight Energy & Environment —

DEAR ABBY: I am currently without a job. I hesitated to inform my mother because I was sure her reaction would only add to my stress. I was right. She constantly corners me about my efforts to find a job. I talk to her nearly every day to keep up with how she and my stepfather are doing. Because she never fails to dig into me about my job search progress, I now find ways to shorten our conversations.

I can get a job or two to sustain my living expenses for the time being.

However, I’m trying to hold out for a job or career that connects to my soul passion. Working for decades in a job that sustains me and my children is no match for the longing of my passion. (I’m still not sure what it is.)

How do I curb my mother’s pushing me for a resolution without coming off as annoyed, which I am?

I’m sure she wants to express her concern, but I want support in my efforts without feeling condemned. Help me, please. — ANNOYED IN ALABAMA

DEAR ANNOYED: I will try. Because you still aren’t sure what your “soul passion” is, it’s time to find out. A place to start might be a career counseling center (some universities have them). Contact one or more and inquire whether they offer career counseling and aptitude testing. The test results will tell you what you are best suited for.

Of course, this service is not offered for free, which is why you might want to buckle down and take a job or two in the meantime to afford it, as well as to feed your little family.

As to your mother, who may be worried because you don’t yet have a plan of action, explain to her about seeking career counseling and she may calm down.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been seeing a man, “Carson,” on and off for about five years. Last year, when I asked him if we were exclusive, he quickly said no, so I went and slept with an ex and became pregnant. I didn’t reach out to Carson because I thought the baby belonged to my ex, but when the baby was born I quickly realized she might be Carson’s. When I told him, he immediately denied she was his but still rekindled our relationship. Abby, he disappears frequently and doesn’t answer my calls. What should I do? Leave him? Stay? I do love him. — HOPELESS ROMANTIC IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR HOPELESS ROMANTIC: Have your child DNA-tested. If it proves she is Carson’s, he should be contributing to his daughter’s support. (The same goes for anyone else you think could be the father.) It’s important that you understand this man behaves the way he does because he is not in love with you and doesn’t care about your feelings.

He sees other women, just as he did the first time around. If this is the way you want to be treated,

LONDON (AP) — The number of people on payroll in the U.K. has soared back to levels last seen before the coronavirus pandemic struck a year and a half ago, official figures showed Tuesday in the latest clear signal that the lifting of lockdown restrictions has prompted businesses to ramp up hiring.

The Office for National Statistics said that payroll numbers rose by 241,000 between July and August to 29.1 million. The total is now 1,000 higher than it was the month before the pandemic struck in March 2020.

The statistics agency also said that vacancy numbers increased by 249,000 in the three months to August to more than 1 million for the first time since records began in 2001 amid labor shortages in industries such as accommodation and food services that are partly related to the pandemic but also because of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

It also found that the the overall rate of unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage point in July to 4.6% while the employment rate ticked up by 0.5 percentage point to 75.2%.

Overall, the figures point to the positive impact of the lifting of restrictions over the past few months and the rebound in confidence following the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the U.K.

National statistician Jonathan Athow cautioned that the jobs recovery isn’t even and that “in hard-hit areas such as London, and sectors such as hospitality and arts and leisure, the numbers of workers remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.”

There’s also unease as to what will happen in the labor market over the coming months as the government’s salary support program, which has kept a lid on unemployment during the pandemic, comes to an end.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is set to end at the end of September, saw the government pay 80% of the salaries of those workers unable to work because of lockdown measures. The program helped support around 12 million people at its height. But the number has been falling as lockdown restrictions were lifted and now stands at around 1.6 million.

“With the furlough scheme ending in little over two weeks’ time, we should expect a fresh rise in unemployment this autumn, particularly among furloughed staff that aren’t able to return to their previous jobs,” said Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank.

Unions are urging the government to come up with new support, particularly for sectors like aviation which are still struggling in the face of restrictions.

___

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https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Employers scrambling to hire staff amid widespread labour shortages after lockdown helped to return the number of workers on company payrolls to pre-pandemic levels in August, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of payroll employees increased by 241,000 to 29.1 million in August, lifting employment in all regions of the UK to pre-Covid levels except in London, Scotland and south-east England.

It came as the number of job vacancies soared to more than 1m in August for the first time since official records began in 2001, rising by 35% in the space of three months across all sectors of the British economy.

Reflecting difficulty hiring staff after lockdown for a wide range of businesses across Britain, the ONS said the largest increase was in accommodation and food services – the sector which includes hotels, pubs and restaurants – with a 75% increase over the past three months.

UK payroll employees chart

Business leaders have warned that shortages of workers and raw materials will hold back Britain’s economic recovery from the pandemic, with lobby groups calling for looser post-Brexit migration rules to enable firms to hire more staff from the EU.

The number of EU nationals working in Britain has dropped during the pandemic as many workers returned to their home countries, while ongoing concerns around Covid, pandemic restrictions, and post-Brexit migration rules have limited their return.

Despite the rise in the number of payrolled employees in August, which is collected from HMRC data, the ONS said employment in the UK still remained below pre-Covid levels in official data gathered in its labour force survey in the three months to July.

Unemployment was estimated at 4.6%, a drop of 0.3 percentage points on the previous quarter but still 0.6 percentage points higher than before the pandemic struck.

UK job vacancies chart

Employment, which measures the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work, rose steadily to 75.2% in the three months to the end of July, but remains 1.3 percentage points lower than pre-Covid levels.

The official headline rates differ from the HMRC payroll numbers because they are based on surveys rather than company filings and cover a three-month period. The HMRC figures also exclude self-employment and may double count some workers who have more than one job.

About 1.6m jobs were still furloughed at the end of July, according to the latest data published by HMRC last week, with the highest numbers in sectors of the economy where pandemic restrictions are toughest. More than half of the total workforce in air passenger transport remains on furlough, while there are also large numbers in the arts and leisure industries.

Nye Cominetti, the senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said self-employment remains 700,000 down on pre-Covid levels, adding that as many as 1 million employees could still be on furlough when the scheme closes at the end of this month.

“There is still ground to make up in the labour market. With the furlough scheme ending

The most recent jobs report was disappointing. Only 235,000 jobs were created in August 2021, versus an expectation of 720,000. Leisure and hospitality jobs had led the way this year — until August. For the six months before August 2021, those industries had averaged 350,000 new jobs per month. Last month there were no job gains in the sectors. The drop-off in leisure and hospitality resulted in August’s jobs gains being the weakest monthly gain since January 2021.

The weakness was attributed to rising COVID-19 cases. Consumer demand ticked down as the uncertainty regarding new infections went up. U.S. infection cases are up to about 150,000 cases a day. The jobs report saw an increase of about 400,000 people who said they couldn’t work for pandemic-related reasons, bringing the total to 5.6 million. The reluctance of would-be workers confirmed the apprehension of businesses to bring on new employees. Corporations paused hiring as hot, hot, hot economic growth cooled to merely hot.

The Delta variant wave is a caterwauling reminder that the pandemic remains one of the most critical factors driving the economy, if not the single most crucial factor. One other significant factor is that, beginning as early as June 2021, roughly half of U.S. states opted out of taking the federal $300 weekly plus-up for unemployment benefits. Governors of those states argued that businesses were competing against the federal benefits for workers. Those additional federal plus-up benefits were eliminated for every state on Labor Day, September 6, 2021.

The governors hypothesized that by eliminating the additional benefit, people would go back to work. It’s too early to determine if that hypothesis is true or not. However, it is possible that the unintended consequence of denying those people that extra $300 per week resulted in the drop in aggregate demand. It’ll be interesting to look at all the data once enough time has passed in order to measure the fallout correctly. Not that there needs to be computational time; there needs to be enough time to compare periods. However, thus far, economists at JP Morgan and Columbia University have found “zero correlation” between job growth and states’ decisions to opt-out of federal unemployment aid.

We don’t yet honestly know the effect of eliminating those additional $300 weekly payments. If dropping the extra unemployment benefits does fail to pull people back into the workforce, it could create a negative feedback loop. Demand for goods and services will drop, and businesses won’t need to hire as many people. This risk is heightened because, as of September 6, 2021, benefits for self-employed and gig workers (freelancers) were terminated. Also on Labor Day, special consideration was canceled for those unemployed for more than six months. Roughly 8.9 million Americans will lose all or some of these benefits. For comparison, during the Financial Crisis of 2008, jobless benefits of different forms that began in 2008–2009 were extended until 2013. When those benefits ceased, there were 1.3 million people still receiving amped-up aid.

There was some

This week expanded federal unemployment insurance benefits expired for millions of workers. For those in states that did not already end the $300 federal bonus and expansions of unemployment benefits to workers who would not traditionally receive them, this will mean an end to over a year of unearned income. Despite the fear-mongering that unemployed Americans will face financial ruin, there are reasons to believe that not only is this expiration overdue but that workers, especially women, will be better off for it and end up with benefits that exceed a monthly check.

Unemployed workers are entering a labor market that is much stronger than one year ago; one that gives workers more leverage to negotiate on their own terms.

There are a record-high 10.9 million open positions according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). During the month of July, the largest increases in job openings occurred in industries that tend to attract women. Health care and social assistance added 294,000 new jobs, and accommodation and food services added 115,000 positions. Although retail, a popular industry for female workers, added fewer new positions in July than it did in June, it still added far more new positions than months prior. For women, there is an added benefit to jobs in hospitality and retail industries: flexibility. Many hospitality workers choose this line of work because they can earn a living around their own schedule. It allows them to balance employment with other responsibilities such as raising children, caregiving for sick or aging relatives and even starting their own businesses.

With ample positions waiting to be occupied, workers have greater choices among positions and more leverage in negotiating with future employers to secure the employment situation that meets their needs.

Workers will also find that wages are generally higher than when they left the jobs market last year. The recent August jobs report may have delivered a disappointing 235,000 total jobs created, but it did have positive news for workers: Wages continue to rise at a fast pace. Average hourly and weekly earnings both increased by 4.3 percent from one year prior. Wages in leisure and hospitality jumped 10.3 percent over the year.

These wage increases are critical to low-income workers who are losing more of their paychecks to inflation. Everything from bread to diapers to gas is more costly today than a year ago, so while a pay increase is a welcome benefit of rejoining the workforce, rising inflation will eat away at those gains. The double-edged sword of rising wages is that it is contributing to inflation. When employers raise pay to attract workers, they pass those increased labor costs along to customers. This vicious cycle will continue until workers rejoin the labor force.

Workers, especially those at the lower end of the income ladder, know that their labor is more valuable and are raising their expectations for how much they should be paid. According to a survey released this week by the New York

The US economy had a record 10.9 million job openings on the last day of July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Wednesday.

Jobs, jobs, everywhere.

That’s what the latest snapshot of the United States labour market is telling us. The world’s largest economy had a record 10.9 million job openings on the last day of July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said on Wednesday. That marked an increase of 749,000 job openings from the previous month – which was also a record.

In a sign of how confident people feel about their employment prospects, some four million Americans quit their jobs in July – roughly level pegging with the previous month.

While that may be awesome news for workers pounding the pavements in search of gainful employment, it is not necessarily great for the economy as a whole.

Why? Because jobs are only created when someone is actually hired. And robust jobs creation is the hallmark of a robust economic recovery.

In August, the US economy added 235,000 jobs – a bitter disappointment that marked the slowest pace of monthly non-farm payrolls added since January.

The economy is still 5.3 million jobs shy of regaining its pre-pandemic level from February 2020. And that shortfall doesn’t even account for growth in the economy or labour force since then, which means the hole is even deeper than the number suggests.

The Delta drag

Many analysts primarily blamed the slowing pace of jobs creation in August on a surge in COVID-19 infections linked to the Delta variant of the coronavirus. As evidence, they pointed to the sharp slowdown of new jobs added in the leisure and hospitality sector – hotels, restaurants and other businesses that engage in face-to-face customer services.

Leisure and hospitality businesses have reported difficulties hiring enough workers over the summer. Some analysts attribute the number of jobs going begging to businesses opening en masse and all vying for the same workers. Other possible reasons cited include an ongoing lack of childcare options, older workers opting to retire early, fear of contracting COVID-19 and enhanced federal jobless benefits giving unemployed workers more breathing room to switch up how they make a living.

Federal job benefits, including the sometimes controversial $300-a-week federal top-up to state unemployment benefits, expired this week. That will put to the test claims by politicians and others that federal unemployment benefits were the primary culprit keeping jobless workers on the sidelines.

Looking ahead

While COVID-19 infections are weighing on the US recovery, along with bottlenecks for raw materials and labour, the nation’s economic recovery is still on track.

Many analysts, though, are lowering their outlook for economic growth.

“Signs that Covid infections may be cresting should prevent the labor market recovery from going into reverse and ensure that consumer spending maintains moderate momentum into 2022,” Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note on Wednesday. He added that his firm has trimmed its 2021 gross domestic product growth forecast by 0.6

In July, the number of jobs available in the United States climbed to 10.9 million, a new record high, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

Health care and social assistance added the most positions, followed by finance and insurance, as well as hotels and restaurants.

America’s tight labor market continues to face a staggering disconnect between the number of jobs available and the number of people out of work.

Even as managers across the board are looking for workers, the number of hires stood at just 6.7 million in July.

While companies are ramping up efforts to rehire staff to meet demand and reopen fully, workers remain worried about the virus risk and child care availability. The generous pandemic-era jobless benefits, along with the sheer number of jobs available, also create conditions in which workers can afford to wait for a better job rather taking the first one that comes along.

But now the Delta variant is threatening to exacerbate the mismatch.

In August, the economy added just 235,000 jobs, far fewer than economists had expected. Restaurants and bars even lost jobs as rising Covid-19 cases are on the rise due to the more infectious Delta variant.

But the BLS report on job openings lags the government’s monthly jobs tally. So it will take a little longer until the full scale of Delta’s impact on this summer will become clear.

The job openings report “provides a different picture of the labor market … but it is decidedly a bit out of date as fast-changing as the recovery and pandemic has been the last year and a half,” said Elise Gould at the Economic Policy Institute.

What Wednesday’s report can tell us is this: “Demand for workers was still growing before the Delta variant impacted the US economy,” said Nick Bunker, director of research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, in emailed comments.

America’s leisure and hospitality industry bore the brunt of the pandemic job losses, but its recovery was also rampant. This was still true in July, when particularly hotels and restaurants added job openings.

“The big uncertainty is how much of a blow did the latest surge in the pandemic deal to demand,” Bunker added.

Thu, Sep 9th 2021 09:35 am

42% likely to cancel existing trips without rescheduling 

By the American Hotel & Lodging Association

U.S. leisure travelers plan to significantly pare back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases, with 69% planning to take fewer trips, 55% planning to postpone existing travel plans, and 42% likely to cancel existing plans without rescheduling, according to a new national survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). Nearly three in four (72%) are likely to only travel to places within driving distance.

While leisure travel historically begins to decline after Labor Day, it remains critical throughout the year. The new survey highlights the ongoing negative effects of the pandemic on travel and underscores the need for targeted federal relief, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act

More than one in five hotel jobs lost during the pandemic – nearly 500,000 in total – will not have returned by the end of this year. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies – meaning an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk.

The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted Aug. 11-12, 2021. Of these, 1,707 people, or 78% of respondents, are leisure travelers – that is, those who indicated they may travel for leisure in 2021. Key findings among leisure travelers include the following:

√ 69% are likely to take fewer trips and 65% are likely to take shorter trips

√ 42% are likely to cancel existing travel plans with no plans to reschedule

√ 55% are likely to postpone existing travel plans until a later date

√ 72% are likely to only travel to places they can drive to

√ 70% are likely to travel with smaller groups 

“With COVID-19 cases rising and travel concerns mounting as we enter the fall and winter months, the hotel industry is at a pivotal point. Unless Congress acts, pandemic-related travel reductions will continue to threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hotel workers,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “For over a year, hotel employees and small business owners across the nation have been asking Congress for direct pandemic relief. This data underscores why it’s time for Congress to act.”

Recently released AHLA survey results show that business travelers are also scaling back their travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases. That includes 67% planning to take fewer trips, 52% likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling, and 60% planning to postpone existing travel plans.

Hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid despite being among the hardest hit. That is why AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers’ union in North America, joined forces to call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie

U.S. leisure travelers plan to significantly pare back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases, with 69% planning to take fewer trips, 55% planning to postpone existing travel plans, and 42% likely to cancel existing plans without rescheduling, according to a new national survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). Nearly three in four (72%) are likely to only travel to places within driving distance. 

While leisure travel historically begins to decline after Labor Day, it remains critical throughout the year. The new survey highlights the ongoing negative effects of the pandemic on travel and underscores the need for targeted federal relief, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act

More than one in five hotel jobs lost during the pandemic—nearly 500,000 in total—will not have returned by the end of this year. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies—meaning an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk. 

Scroll down for more…



 
The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted August 11-12, 2021. Of these, 1,707 people, or 78% of respondents, are leisure travelers—that is, those who indicated they may travel for leisure in 2021. Key findings among leisure travelers include the following:

69% are likely to take fewer trips and 65% are likely to take shorter trips
42% are likely to cancel existing travel plans with no plans to reschedule
55% are likely to postpone existing travel plans until a later date
72% are likely to only travel to places they can drive to
70% are likely to travel with smaller groups 

“With COVID-19 cases rising and travel concerns mounting as we enter the fall and winter months, the hotel industry is at a pivotal point. Unless Congress acts, pandemic-related travel reductions will continue to threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hotel workers,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “For over a year, hotel employees and small business owners across the nation have been asking Congress for direct pandemic relief. This data underscores why it’s time for Congress to act.”

Scroll down for more…



 
Recently released AHLA survey results show that business travelers are also scaling back their travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases. That includes 67% planning to take fewer trips, 52% likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling, and 60% planning to postpone existing travel plans.

Hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid despite being among the hardest hit. That is why AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers’ union in North America, joined forces to call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). This legislation would provide a lifeline to hotel workers, providing the assistance they need to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.