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 —

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

People line up outside a newly reopened career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Amira Karaoud

Sept 3 (Reuters) – Attaining its goal of maximum employment has always been a tall order for the Federal Reserve but broadening the scope of that objective to one that is also “broad and inclusive” has made the task tougher still, with Friday’s payrolls report standing as a case in point.

Job gains in August were far more meager than expected largely due to the surge in coronavirus cases. And even though the unemployment rate fell to a pandemic-era low of 5.2%, it did not drop for everyone. The jobless rate rose for Blacks – to 8.8% from 8.2% – and they were the only major racial demographic group to see an increase.

That figure on its own creates tough optics for the Fed as it approaches a consequential meeting this month, especially as other data from the Labor Department suggest the Black employment recovery from last year’s recession continues to progress – by some measures more so than for whites.

Reuters Graphics

Black workers continued to notch strong gains in employment and in the labor force participation rate this year, while it appears improvements may be moderating for white workers.

For example, the share of Black people who are either working or looking for jobs, or the labor force participation rate, rose in August to 61.6% and is now equal to the participation rate for white workers – a metric where Black workers have historically lagged.

And the share of Black people who were employed in August, known as the employment to population ratio, reached 56.2%, up from 54.7% in January. This was slightly more than the gains seen for white workers. “That’s an unambiguous improvement” for Black workers, Nick Bunker, an economist with Indeed Hiring Lab said in an email.

At 58.8%, the employment to population ratio for white workers is up from 57.9% in January.

Still, the trends in the unemployment rate are much less straightforward. After last month’s increase, the jobless rate for Black workers is still at crisis-era levels and is down just 0.4 percentage points from the start of the year. The unemployment rate for white workers, at 4.5%, is below the national unemployment rate and down by 1.2 percentage points from January.

“Where that rise in unemployment came from is up for debate,” said Bunker, noting it could have been driven by a rise in Black people trying to find work but not succeeding, or by an increase in the number of Black people who became unemployed.

Policymakers will need to watch what happens in the coming months as the U.S. labor market works through the effects of multiple shifts, including cuts to unemployment benefits, the Delta variant’s drag on spending and travel and persistent challenges with childcare and schooling.

If the slowdown in hiring persists, that may not bode well for Black workers, which often face the deepest losses during downturns

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

* Dismal August jobs report calms taper fears

* Leisure, retail employment disappoint; cruise liners slump

* Banking stocks slide, shrug off jump in bond yields

* Indexes: Dow off 0.1%, S&P up 0.04%, Nasdaq gains 0.19% (Updates prices)

Sept 3 (Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes offered mixed performances in the wake of Friday’s disappointing U.S. jobs growth data, which sent the Dow lower on fears about the pace of economic recovery but boosted the tech-heavy Nasdaq as the argument for near-term tapering was weakened.

A majority of the 11 S&P sectors were down by early afternoon, with energy and financial stocks leading declines.

Banking stocks, which generally perform better when bond yields are higher, dropped 0.4% even as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped following the report.

“The number’s a big disappointment and it’s clear the Delta variant had a negative impact on the labor economy this summer,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“You can tell because leisure and hospitality didn’t add any jobs and retail actually lost jobs. Investors will conclude that perhaps this will put the (Federal Reserve) further on hold in terms of the timing of tapering. Markets may be okay with that.”

Among the biggest decliners on the S&P 500 were cruise ship operators, whose businesses are highly susceptible to consumer sentiment around travel and COVID-19. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Cruises were between 3.5% and 4.9% lower.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq had scaled all-time highs over the past few weeks on support from robust corporate earnings, but investors have remained generally cautious as they watch economic indicators and the jump in U.S. infections to see how that might influence the Fed and its tapering plans.

The labor market remains the key touchstone for the Fed, with Chair Jerome Powell hinting last week that reaching full employment was a pre-requisite for the central bank to start paring back its asset purchases.

On Friday, the Labor Department’s closely watched report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 jobs in August, widely missing economists’ estimate of 750,000. Payrolls had surged 1.05 million in July.

By 1:48 p.m. ET (1748), the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 35.51 points, or 0.1%, to 35,408.31, the S&P 500 gained 1.64 points, or 0.04%, to 4,538.59 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.21 points, or 0.19%, to 15,360.39.

The Nasdaq was boosted by technology heavyweights, including Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook, which were between 0.2% and 0.5% higher. Tech stocks tend to perform better in a low interest-rate environment.

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Global gained 2.5% after a media report that the city of Beijing was considering moves that would give state entities control of the company.

Biotechnology firm Forte Biosciences slumped 81.8% to be among the top decliners across U.S. exchanges after its

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 hotels.

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 of unemployment.

This points to underlying strength in the economy even as growth appears to be slowing significantly 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.

“It is important to keep the right perspective,” said Brian Bethune, professor of practice at Boston College. “Given the supply chain constraints and the ongoing battle to lasso COVID-19 to the ground, the economy is performing exceptionally well.”

The survey of establishments showed 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.

Hiring in June was also stronger than initially estimated, leaving average monthly job growth over the past three months at a strong 750,000. Employment is 5.3 million jobs below its peak in February 2020. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast nonfarm payrolls increasing by 728,000 jobs in August.

Graphic: Nonfarm payrolls –

Though the Delta variant here was the biggest drag, fading fiscal stimulus was probably another factor. The response rate to the survey is lower in August and the pandemic has made it harder to adjust education employment for seasonal fluctuations.

The initial August payrolls print has undershot expectations over the last several years, including in 2020. Payrolls have been subsequently revised higher in 11 of the last 12 years.

“The August payroll figures have historically been revised higher in the years since the Great Recession, sometimes significantly, and there’s a good chance this effect will occur again this time,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide in Ohio.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector was unchanged after gains averaging 377,000 per month over the prior three months. Restaurants and bars payrolls fell 42,000 and hiring at hotels and motels decreased 34,600, offsetting a 36,000 gain in arts, entertainment and recreation jobs. Retailers shed 29,000 jobs.

Construction lost 3,000 jobs. There were gains in mining, financial services, information and professional and business services as well as transportation and warehousing.

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

Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs, led by a 24,100 increase in the automobile industry. Factory hiring remains constrained by input shortages, especially semiconductors, which have depressed motor vehicle production and sales.

General Motors and Ford

A person waits on the Wall Street subway platform in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 20, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

  • Dismal August jobs report calms taper fears
  • Banking stocks slide, shrug off jump in bond yields
  • Didi gains on report Beijing looks to take it under state control
  • Indexes: Dow off 0.30%, S&P down 0.14%, Nasdaq up 0.07%

Sept 3 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow fell on Friday as a slowdown in U.S. jobs growth raised questions about the pace of the economic recovery, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose as the report also calmed fears of an imminent tapering in monetary policy.

Nine of the 11 S&P sectors were down by early afternoon, with economically sensitive industrials (.SPLRCI) and financial (.SPSY) stocks leading declines.

Banking stocks (.SPXBK), which generally perform better when bond yields are higher, dropped 0.6% even as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped following the report.

“The number’s a big disappointment and it’s clear the Delta variant had a negative impact on the labor economy this summer,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“You can tell because leisure and hospitality didn’t add any jobs and retail actually lost jobs. Investors will conclude that perhaps this will put the (Federal Reserve) further on hold in terms of the timing of tapering. Markets may be okay with that.”

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq had scaled all-time highs over the past few weeks on support from robust corporate earnings, but investors had recently grown cautious on hawkish signals from the Fed and a jump in infections.

The labor market remains the key touchstone for the Fed, with Chair Jerome Powell hinting last week that reaching full employment was a pre-requisite for the central bank to start paring back its asset purchases.

On Friday, the Labor Department’s closely watched report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 jobs in August, widely missing economists’ estimate of 750,000. Payrolls had surged 1.05 million in July. read more

By 12:02 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) and the S&P 500 (.SPX) were down 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, with economy-linked industrial stocks including General Electric (GE.N), 3M (MMM.N) and Boeing (BA.N) falling between 0.2% and 1.7%.

The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC), on the other hand, rose 0.07%, boosted by technology heavyweights, including Apple (AAPL.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O), and Facebook (FB.O). Tech stocks tend to perform better in a low interest-rate environment.

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Global (DIDI.N) gained 1.8% after a media report that the city of Beijing was considering moves that would give state entities control of the company. read more

Biotechnology firm Forte Biosciences (FBRX.O) slumped 81.4% to be among the top decliners across U.S. exchanges after its experimental treatment for eczema, a skin disease, failed to meet its main goal.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.98-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.80-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 32 new 52-week highs and one

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employment growth likely pulled back in August after gaining nearly 2 million jobs in the past two months as soaring COVID-19 cases reduced demand for travel and entertainment, but the pace was probably enough to sustain the economic expansion.

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

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday would come as economists have been sharply marking down their gross domestic product estimates for the third quarter. Reasons cited include the resurgence in infections, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and relentless shortages of raw materials, which are depressing automobile sales and restocking.

Surging COVID-19 cases could also have kept some unemployed people home, frustrating efforts by employers to boost hiring.

“The Delta variant is like a sandstorm in an otherwise sunny economy,” said Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “If it weren’t for that, employment in August would have been even higher.”

According to a Reuters survey of economists nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 750,000 jobs last month. The economy created 1.881 million jobs in June and July. Should job growth in August meet expectations, that would leave the level of employment about 5 million jobs below its peak in February 2020.

But the forecast is highly uncertain, with estimates ranging from 375,000 to 1.027 million.

High frequency indicators have suggested a softening in demand for air travel, hotel accommodation and in-person dining, which some economists expect led to a moderation in leisure and hospitality job growth.

Reports this week showed a measure of factory employment contracting and private payrolls undershooting expectations. But hiring by small businesses accelerated and consumers’ views of the labor market remained fairly upbeat.

Over the last several years, including in 2020, the initial August payrolls print has undershot expectations and been slower than the three-month average job growth through July.

“COVID effects may make this comparison to the trend less useful, however, August payrolls have been revised higher with the subsequent two jobs reports in 11 of the last 12 years, including last year,” said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York.

Friday’s report will be crucial for financial markets as investors try to gauge the timing of the Federal Reserve’s announcement on when it will start scaling back its massive monthly bond buying program.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week affirmed the ongoing economic recovery, but offered no signal on when the U.S. central bank plans to cut its asset purchases beyond saying it could be “this year.”

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. Macro Strategist at TD Securities in New York, who is forecasting a 400,000 rise in payrolls in August, does not believe this would be weak enough for the Fed to back away from their “this year” signal.

“But it would probably increase the probability of a

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The Quad-Cities had one of the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs in Illinois during July 2021.

The Davenport-Moline-Rock Island metropolitan statistical area increased employment by 4.4%, or 7,500 jobs, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

The area saw a 4.8% decrease in unemployment rates, going from a rate of 9.8% in July 2020 to 5% in July 2021. The last July the unemployment rate was lower than 5% was in 2019 at 3.8%.

Moline and Rock Island experienced a 7.6% decrease in unemployment, bringing their rates down to 4.9% and 5.6%, respectively.

Economists consider an unemployment rate of 5% or lower to be full-employment.

The sectors with the largest job growth in the Quad-Cities were the government, leisure-hospitality, manufacturing, and construction industries, adding 6,000 jobs since July 2020. The financial activities and information sectors recorded job declines, losing 200 jobs since last July.

Overall, the state-wide data on metropolitan areas reflects recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Deputy Governor Andy Manar.

“Today’s data is reflective that reopening and recovery is touching every corner of the state,” Manar said in the release. “With the expiration of federal unemployment programs in a week and a half, IDES is focused on matching jobseekers with employers to continue to assist with statewide economic recovery.”