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 —

WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. economy “downshifted slightly” in August as the renewed surge of the coronavirus hit dining, travel and tourism, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday, but the economy overall remained in the throes of a post-pandemic rush of rising prices, labor shortages and stilted hiring.

“The deceleration in economic activity was largely attributable to a pullback in dining out, travel, and tourism in most Districts, reflecting safety concerns due to the rise of the Delta variant, and, in a few cases, international travel restrictions,” the Fed reported in its latest Beige Book compendium of anecdotal information about the economy.

Still the document, summing up information collected through Aug. 30 that will be part of the deliberations at the Fed’s Sept. 21-22 policy meeting, reported continued strong demand for workers and hiring made more difficult by “increased turnover, early retirements, childcare needs, challenges in negotiating job offers, and enhanced unemployment benefits. Some Districts noted that return-to-work schedules were pushed back due to the increase in the Delta variant.”

Jobs openings were so plentiful, the Atlanta Fed noted, that restaurants were beset by “ghosting coasting,” where employees take a job for few days then quit with no notice and move on to the next restaurant.

Prices, Fed officials reported, continued to rise.

“Inflation was reported to be steady at an elevated pace,” with Fed districts saying it was either moderate or strong, with costs for metals, freight, construction materials and other industrial staples rising in most districts.

“With pervasive resource shortages, input price pressures continued to be widespread,” the Fed reported, causing headaches across industries as disparate as beer brewing and wedding apparel.

“One contact reported refunding several bridal parties because dresses did not arrive on time for weddings,” the Richmond Fed reported. In the St. Louis Fed district “a regional brewery reported that their supplier increased prices twice between order and delivery for a pallet of aluminum.”

The report describes a difficult landscape for the U.S. economy and the Fed heading into a fall season when it was hoped the recovery from the pandemic would take clearer shape.

The risks of sustained price increases remains real, rather than fading as quickly as Fed officials had hoped.

On the other hand “all Districts continued to report rising employment overall,” possibly alleviating concerns that weak job growth of just 235,000 new positions in August was the edge of a broader slowdown in employment given the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant. Analysts had expected in excess of 700,000 new jobs last month.

HOPING FOR MORE CLARITY ON JOBS

Fed officials are grappling with when to reduce their $120 billion in monthly bond purchases as a first step in a coming shift to post-pandemic monetary policy, and while a decision remains likely this year the August job reading may require further confirmation that hiring will stay on track.

“The Delta variant is weighing on consumer spending and jobs, and the pace of growth appears to be slowing,” New York Fed

The U.S. added 235,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent as the economy appeared to falter under surging coronavirus cases, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

Economists had expected employment growth to slow slightly in August to a gain of roughly 750,000 jobs, according to consensus forecasts, amid falling consumer confidence and disruptive school closures. Declines in restaurant reservations, air travel and other key drivers of the recovery also raised red flags about the August jobs haul.

“Today’s report has the delta variant written all over it. It is clear that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is a strong headwind to the labor market,” wrote Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.

The August jobs report showed setbacks in sectors of the economy hit hardest by the pandemic and crucial to the comeback from its economic blow.

The leisure and hospitality sector did not add any net jobs in August as a 42,000-job decline in restaurants and bars wiped out a 36,000-job gain in arts and entertainment. 

Stagnant job growth in leisure and hospitality, one of the areas of the economy most vulnerable to COVID-19, is an alarming sign for the pace of the recovery. The sector added an average of 350,000 jobs per month since February and remains down by 1.7 million from its peak in 2020, the Labor Department said.

Employment in retail, another hard-hit sector, also fell by 29,000 thanks to steep losses at grocery stores and building material and garden supply stores. 

Instead, the bulk of the August jobs gain came from professional and business services (74,000), transportation and warehousing (53,000), manufacturing (37,000) and private education (40,000).

“The industry breakdown in employment growth shows clear signs that the increased COVID-19 spread is behind this relatively weak number,” Bunker wrote. “Yet, the labor market is still recovering.”

While job growth slowed significantly in August, the first full month since the delta surge picked up in mid-July, the labor market still showed signs of resilience.

Labor force participation stayed even at 61.7 percent in August and the employment to population ratio — a broader gauge of job market strength — ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 58.5 percent. 

The unemployment rate for whites dropped from 4.8 percent to 4.5 percent as labor force participation stayed even, showing continued progress. Black unemployment jumped from 8.2 percent to 8.8 percent, though participation also jumped up by 0.8 percentage points. 

The Hispanic unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent to 6.4 percent with a small decline in participation, but the Asian unemployment rate dropped from 5.3 percent to 4.6 percent likely due to a 0.4 percentage-point decline in participation. 

The number of Americans who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer, known as the “long-term unemployed,” also dropped from 3.4 million to roughly 3.2 million. Those who suffer long-term unemployment often struggle to return to work and are hired at lower rates than those without long periods of joblessness.

Upward revisions to

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic did a number on the U.S. economy, driving millions of Americans out of work and onto unemployment benefits. And while the economy isn’t looking as dire these days compared to the start of the outbreak, it still has a ways to go before it recovers in full.

However, for the economy to get back to normal, jobs need to be created. And in that regard, things are looking up for the private sector.

In August, new private sector jobs came to 374,000, according to the most recent ADP National Employment Report, up from 330,000 in July. And if job growth continues within the private sector, the economy could end up in an even better place by the end of 2021.

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Who added the most jobs?

Here’s how job creation broke down for the month of August:

  • 86,000 jobs were added by small businesses of one to 49 employees
  • 149,000 jobs were added by mid-sized companies of 50 to 499 employees
  • 138,000 jobs were added by larger companies with 500 or more employees

Meanwhile, the service sector added 329,000 jobs. And within that sector, leisure and hospitality saw the most job growth, with 201,000 new positions being added.

It’s important to note, though, that the leisure and hospitality industry was among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Earlier on in the outbreak, restaurants and entertainment venues were forced to shutter temporarily to guests, causing lots of jobs to be shed. And so now, the added jobs are helping to make up for those that were lost in the spring of 2020.

How to find a job in today’s economy

If you’re in the market for a new job, whether because you’re unemployed or because you want a better opportunity, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the industries that are hiring. But there are also other steps you can take to improve your chances of getting an offer.

First, spend some time cleaning up your resume. Make sure it’s up to date and that it does a good job of describing your skills and former responsibilities.

Next, be prepared to put some effort into a cover letter. Your resume will tell employers what experience you have, but it won’t necessarily speak to your personality, which is something companies may want to know about.

Finally, make an effort to network. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and former coworkers to ask for help in finding job openings. If you know someone whose company is hiring and

Employers added 235,000 jobs in August, far below expectations of 720,000 new hires, and the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 5.2%, the Department of Labor said Friday.

The fresh labor market data comes as the spread of the more contagious delta variant has throttled the pace of the recovery. The latest figure is a steep fall from the approximately 1 million jobs that were added in both June and July.

Despite the dismal top-line numbers, some labor economists see glimmers of hope in the continued job gains despite virus cases increasing sharply across the country.

“COVID cases surged more than fourfold between July and August and hospitals have reached capacity in parts of the country,” Julia Pollak, the chief labor economist at ZipRecruiter, told ABC News. “The last time that happened there was a very, very enormous and precipitous labor market effect — a very negative effect — and this time around, despite such a huge surge, we’ve actually seen the job market continue to make progress.”

Pollak also called the report “encouraging.”

“The labor market, rather than really stalling or going into reverse, has actually continued to recover,” she said. “The main COVID delta effects here are a slowdown in those face-to-face service industries, in retail and in restaurants particularly, but elsewhere, the labor market is looking strong.”

So far this year, job growth has averaged 586,000 jobs per month, the DOL said. While employment has risen by some 17 million since April 2020, the economy is still down about 5.3 million jobs from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 — when the unemployment rate was at a historic low of 3.5% prior to COVID-19 walloping the labor market.

Notable job gains last month occurred in professional and business services (which saw an uptick of 74,000 jobs), transportation and warehousing (which saw a rise of 53,000 jobs), private education (which saw an increase of 40,000 jobs), and manufacturing (which added 37,000 jobs).

Employment in retail trade declined by 29,000 jobs in August, likely a reflection of the virus resurgence, with major losses in food and beverage stores (where 23,000 jobs were lost).

Leisure and hospitality employment was unchanged in August, the DOL said, after back-to-back gains the previous months. Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 1.7 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The latest data continues to reflect the uneven impact of the COVID-19 downturn. The unemployment rate for white workers was 4.5% in August, compared to 8.8% for Black workers, 6.4% for Hispanic workers and 4.6% for Asian workers.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) fell in August to 3.2

America’s employers added just 235,000 jobs in August, a disappointing gain after two months of solid payroll growth – and economists say the spread of the highly contagious delta variant is to blame for the abrupt drop-off.

“The delta variant surge is the unsurprising story behind August’s big payroll miss,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. “Leisure and hospitality jobs, a proxy for economic reopening, were flat month over month. The good news is that we see promising signs delta’s effect will wane in coming months and payrolls will resume growing at a fast clip.”

The August jobs figure the government reported on Friday fell far short of the 728,000 gain forecast by Refinitiv economists, in part because the recent COVID-19 spike forced employers to pull back on hiring. It marked a surprising slowdown after solid gains of 1.1 million in July and 962,000 in June.

BIDEN ADMIN URGES SOME STATES TO EXTEND EXTRA UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AHEAD OF DEADLINE

The hiring plateau likely reflects both growing fears about the highly contagious delta variant and struggles that companies have reported in onboarding new workers, despite a record number of 10.1 million available jobs. In August, 5.6 million people reported they were unable to work because of the pandemic, a rise from 5.2 million a month earlier.

As coronavirus cases spiked and Americans pulled back on spending, hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector – which includes restaurants, bars and hotels – fell to zero last month.

Though it seems obvious in retrospect, economists likely did not factor in – or underestimated – the number of COVID-19 cases across the nation, and how businesses were responding to the rise. 

CONSUMER PRICES SURGE 5% ANNUALLY, MOST SINCE AUGUST 2008

“Flat growth in leisure and hospitality employment suggests that the delta variant is taking a big bite out of the recovery,” said Curt Long, the chief economist and vice president of research at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.

While the U.S. was making solid progress with vaccinations – 74.5% of adults have received at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – and infections began falling, cases have rebounded recently as the delta variant spreads among the unvaccinated population. 

The U.S. is averaging about 142,000 new daily cases in the last seven days, compared to the 11,000 seven-day average in June, according to the CDC.

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“Today’s dreadful jobs report — which basically put the recovery on ice for a while — is yet another reminder that the virus is the economy. Delta roars and the recovery retreats,” Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Michigan, tweeted on Friday. “In a few weeks we’ll get the geographic detail on the slowdown in jobs growth, and it’ll be interesting to see how much more dramatic it

Job creation stumbled in August as the U.S. economy added the fewest number of new workers in seven months, an abrupt slowdown driven largely by a standstill in hiring at bars, restaurants and hotels.

The Labor Department said in its Friday report that employers added 235,000 jobs last month, sharply missing Wall Street’s expectations for a gain of 728,000. It marked a noticeable slowdown after solid gains of 1.1 million in July and 962,000 in June.

The unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 5.2%.

BIDEN ADMIN URGES SOME STATES TO EXTEND EXTRA UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AHEAD OF DEADLINE

Leisure and hospitality, one of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, dragged on job growth last month, with a net gain of zero. It’s a stunning turnabout for a sector that, for months, has accounted for the bulk of job creation each month. There are about 1.7 million fewer jobs in leisure and hospitality than there were in February 2020, before the pandemic began. 

A closer look at the data shows that while hotels added 6,600 jobs in August, restaurants and bars slashed about 41,500 jobs. That was offset by a payroll gain of 36,000 jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation.

Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.7 million, or 10%, since February 2020.

“The delta variant surge is the unsurprising story behind August’s big payroll miss,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. “Leisure and hospitality jobs, a proxy for economic reopening, were flat month over month. The good news is that we see promising signs Delta’s effect will wane in coming months and payrolls will resume growing at a fast clip.”

CONSUMER PRICES SURGE 5% ANNUALLY, MOST SINCE AUGUST 2008

Other industries also stumbled in August: Retail trade shed 28,500 jobs last month, with the bulk of those stemming from home and garden stores (-13,000), food and beverage stores (-23,200) and clothing stores (-4,000).

The government, meanwhile, was also a drain of job growth, cutting 8,000 positions. Those losses stemmed from state governments, which saw payroll shrink by 25,000. That was balanced out by the federal government, which added 3,000 jobs, and local government, which added 14,000.

Health care and social assistance eliminated 4,600 jobs, while construction lost 3,000 and utilities lost 1,300. 

The bulk of the job creation stemmed from professional and business services, which contributed 74,000 new positions last month. It was followed by gains in transportation and warehousing (53,200) and manufacturing (37,000).

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Education, meanwhile, added more than 40,000 jobs, reflecting the continued resumption of in-person learning and other school activities across the country.

Job creation for August was a huge disappointment, with the economy adding just 235,000 positions, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 720,000 new hires.

The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% from 5.4%, in line with estimates.

August’s total — the worst since January — comes with heightened fears of the pandemic and the impact that rising Covid cases could have on what has been a mostly robust recovery. The weak report could cloud policy for the Federal Reserve, which is weighing whether to pull back on some of the massive stimulus it has been adding since the outbreak in early 2020.

“The labor market recovery hit the brakes this month with a dramatic showdown in all industries,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at jobs site Glassdoor. “Ultimately, the Delta variant wave is a harsh reminder that the pandemic is still in the driver’s seat, and it controls our economic future.”

Leisure and hospitality jobs, which had been the primary driver of overall gains at 350,000 per month for the past six months, stalled in August as the unemployment rate in the industry ticked higher to 9.1%.

Instead, professional and business services led with 74,000 new positions. Other gainers included transportation and warehousing (53,000), private education (40,000) and manufacturing and other services, which each posted gains of 37,000.

Retail lost 29,000, with the bulk coming from food and beverage stores, which saw a decrease of 23,000.

“The weaker employment activity is likely both a demand and supply story — companies paused hiring in the face of weaker demand and uncertainty about the future while workers withdrew due to health concerns,” Bank of America economist Joseph Song said in a note to clients.

The report comes with the U.S. seeing about 150,000 new Covid cases a day, spurring worries that the recovery could stall heading into the final part of the year.

“Delta is the story in this report,” said Marvin Loh, global macro strategist for State Street. “It’s going to be a bumpy recovery in the jobs market and one that pushes back against a more optimistic narrative.”

The month saw an increase of about 400,000 in those who said they couldn’t work for pandemic-related reasons, pushing the total up to 5.6 million.

“Today’s jobs report reflects a major pullback in employment growth likely due to the rising impact of the Delta variant of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy, though August is also a notoriously difficult month to survey accurately due to vacations,” said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens.

Still, the news wasn’t all bad for jobs.

The previous two months saw substantial upward revisions, with July’s total now at 1.053 million, up from the original estimate of 943,000, while June was bumped up to 962,000 from 938,000. For the two months, revisions added 134,000 to the initial counts.

Also, wages continued to accelerate, rising 4.3% on a year-over-year basis and 0.6% on a monthly basis. Estimates had been for

“Delta is reducing consumer demand and threatening the reopening,” said Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao. “Ultimately it’s just a harsh reminder that the pandemic has control of our destiny,” he told CNN Business.

In normal times the August report would have been a reason to celebrate, but nowadays it’s a sharp slowdown from the buoyant jobs reports earlier in the summer. Friday’s report fell far short of economists’ already reduced expectations: Predictions for Friday’s jobs report had been revised down to 728,000 from 750,000 earlier after Wednesday’s ADP Employment Report, which count private payrolls, also disappointed.

Nearly a year and a half into the recovery, the US economy remains 5.3 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020, before Covid-19 threw a wrench into the gears.

Last month, 5.6 million people said they hadn’t been able to work or worked reduced hours because their employer was affected by the pandemic.

Amid all the bad news, there were also some silver linings: The unemployment rate fell to 5.2% in August from 5.4% before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Also, the job gains for July were revised up to 1.1 million, the first gain of a million jobs or more since August 2020.

The Delta variant is leaving its mark

Meanwhile, the leisure and hospitality industry, which led job gains during much of the recovery after the sector got hit the hardest during lockdowns, wasn’t among the top hirers in August. Instead, professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education and manufacturing recorded the biggest job gains. In leisure and hospitality, jobs were mostly unchanged in August, but restaurants and bars registered a loss of 42,000 jobs.

The leisure and hospitality sectors had cited worker shortages in previous months, noted Zhao. But the Delta variant has caused Covid-19 infections to rise across the nation, leading to a return of mask mandates and health safety guidance — halting some people’s travel plans.

The retail sector also shed jobs in August.

Concerns about getting infected and what Delta might mean for the recovery also began weighing on consumer sentiment, which collapsed to its lowest level since December 2011 in August.

The slowdown in jobs growth is the latest dark cloud hanging over the recovery in recent months. Economists are increasingly concerned about the rest of the year. Some worry about a repeat of last winter — when Covid cases rose and led to renewed restrictions that resulted in job losses in December. That would be bad news for the recovery.

Economists had been hopeful that the return to school this month would help ease the childcare burden on so many Americans and allow many people to go back to work. But Delta could ruin that, too.

“It does seem like school reopenings will be disrupted, which will continue to keep parents out of the workforce,” Zhao said.

The recovery has been uneven, and that trend continued in August.

Unemployment rates fell for White, Asian and Hispanic workers, while

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in seven months in August as hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector stalled amid a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, which weighed on demand at restaurants and other food places.

FILE PHOTO: A sign advertising job openings is seen while people walk into the store in New York City, New York, U.S., August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

But other details of the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday were fairly strong, with the unemployment rate falling to a 17-month low of 5.2% and July job growth revised sharply higher. Wages increased a solid 0.6% and fewer people were experiencing long spells unemployment.

This points to underlying strength in the economy even as growth appears to be slowing in the third quarter because of the soaring infections, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and relentless shortages of raw materials, which are depressing automobile sales and restocking.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain since January. Data for July was revised up to show a whopping 1.053 million jobs created instead of the previously reported 943,000.

That left the level of employment about 5.3 million jobs below its peak in February 2020. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast nonfarm payrolls increasing by 728,000 jobs.

The initial August payrolls print has undershot expectations and been slower than the three-month average job growth through July over the last several years, including in 2020. August payrolls have been subsequently revised higher in 11 of the last 12 years.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector was unchanged as restaurants and bars payrolls fell 42,000, offsetting a 36,000 gain in arts, entertainment and recreation jobs. Retailers shed 29,000 jobs.

There were gains in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, as well as manufacturing, which added 37,000 jobs. Factory hiring remains constrained by input shortages, especially semiconductors, which have depressed motor vehicle production and sales.

Raw material shortages have also made it harder for businesses to replenish inventories. Motor vehicle sales tumbled 10.7% in August, prompting economists at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan to slash third-quarter GDP growth estimates to as low as a 3.5% annualized rate from as high as 8.25%.

Government payrolls fell in August as state government education lost 21,000 jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the employment report cautioned that “recent employment changes are challenging to interpret, as pandemic-related staffing fluctuations in public and private education have distorted the normal seasonal hiring and layoff patterns.”

U.S. stocks opened lower. The dollar slipped against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices fell.

HOUSEHOLD DETAILS STRONG

Details of the smaller household survey from which the unemployment rate is derived were fairly upbeat.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, the lowest since March 2020 from 5.4% in July. It has, however, been understated by people misclassifying themselves as being “employed but absent from work.” Without this problem, the jobless rate would have been 5.5%.

Though the