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

It might sound like rest and relaxation, but for Saige Treiman, it’s work. In fact, she’s made a career out of the hospitality industry and has never looked back.

“It’s super fun,” she explains. “It’s just the connections. The connections are phenomenal. There are so many people in this world and it gives you the best opportunity to meet even more people.”

But this year, all Treiman has met are setbacks.

“I was laid off…laid off from a couple of different jobs.”

Treiman is one of many Arizona tourism workers off the job in 2020, but as resorts continue to rebound, they’re needing to hire more and more workers.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, 2021 job openings are up 11% from 2020, but still not quite where they were in 2019.

RELATED: Sports tourism is big business for Arizona, expected to keep growing

“Just like everyone, the pandemic has really kind of changed the direction and created some challenges like we’ve never had before,” says Denise Seomin with the Phoenician Resort.

The Phoenician is gearing up for more group travel this fall and the upcoming holidays, so they’ve hosted two hiring events in recent months, where, in one place, you can apply, interview, get drug tested and if all goes well, get a job offer.

The Phoenician is even offering a $500 sign-on bonus for people who get hired at the event. It is one of many resorts getting creative to lure more people back.

RELATED: Though pandemic hit Arizona tourism industry hard, in-state visitors lessened the blow

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According to a survey the Washington Post conducted earlier this summer, about 1 in 5 workers in the U.S. considered changing their profession during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number was higher for people under 40 — one-third of them have thought about changing their career since the pandemic began. 

The pandemic has shifted our priorities and made us reassess what we truly want. For some people, that has meant pursuing more meaningful work. For others, it’s meant looking for a job with higher pay or more flexibility. And for those in service and retail work, it could mean looking for a job that offers stability during the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At 9 a.m. on Thursday, MPR host Angela Davis explores the reasons behind this trend and what it’s like to start a new career during these unprecedented times. 

We want to hear from our listeners. Has the last year and a half caused you to reassess your job? Have you made a career change during the pandemic? What do you want to know about making a professional change? Call us at 651-227-6000 during the 9 a.m. hour or tweet @AngelaDavisMPR.

Guests:

  • Kate Schaefers is the Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative Life Course Center. She coaches professionals who are transitioning into new jobs and careers. 

  • Wendy Williams is the former second flute with the Minnesota Orchestra. She is currently on medical leave and moving into a new career as a wellness coach and grief and loss specialist.

  • Kat Coats is a former bartender. She is now a welding student at Minneapolis Community Technical College.   

  • Meg Steuer is finishing her last week as the director of platform for Forge North. She’ll be taking off a few months to travel.

  • Joe Horton is a Minneapolis artist and musician. He is the co-founder of the creative studio FIX.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.

When the vaccines for Covid-19 became widely available this spring, there was widespread optimism that the pandemic would wind down quickly and the economy would spring back to full strength. No such luck. The highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, which is causing a serious wave of infections and hospitalizations, is doing substantial damage to the economic recovery.
This was clear in the August employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After adding close to 1 million jobs in both June and July, businesses added fewer than a quarter million jobs last month. That’s not bad in typical times, but not good when the economy is still down over 5 million jobs from before the pandemic.
The dramatic comedown in job growth was driven by businesses that either closed or lost sales due to the virus. Almost half a million more people were unable to work last month because the pandemic forced their employers to scale back. The biggest hit was to restaurants and bars, which had added close to 300,000 jobs in July but were then forced to cut payrolls in August. Hotels added workers, though barely, and recreational activities, which include everything from baseball games to Broadway, pulled way back on added jobs from previous months.
The Delta variant has also caused many businesses to delay requiring workers to return to their offices, which also hinders the economic recovery. Not long ago, many businesses were targeting this return for after Labor Day, but the beginning of 2022 now appears more likely. This is a blow to retailers and the service industry that cater to office workers, and it’s thus not surprising that transit-related jobs fell last month. Airlines continue to bring back workers, but they won’t be able to do so much longer if air travel continues to wane as it has in recent weeks. Nervous travelers are suddenly more cautious, and governments are reimposing travel restrictions.
Delta is further scrambling global supply chains, disrupting homebuilders, who are grappling with shortages of everything from lumber to appliances. Housing demand is booming, but builders can’t put up homes any faster for lack of materials. Jobs in vehicle manufacturing and at dealerships are stuck as the industry can’t get the semiconductors it needs to make cars and trucks. Vehicle sales have flagged, but not because people don’t want to buy. They do. There are just so few cars to buy that vehicle prices have gone parabolic.
Global supply chain issues have caused prices to jump for many goods, and while this will not persist, Delta ensures the higher prices will eat away at our purchasing power and spending for longer, costing us jobs. Just a few weeks ago, China shut down a key terminal at a major port after Delta had infected a dock worker. The cost of shipping a container on different East-West routes, which at this time of year will be filled with Christmas goods, is up 360% from a year ago.
Record job

Thousands of Indians are travelling to the UAE after flight restrictions into the country eased for residents and visitors.

Many have been reunited with family after six months apart following a travel ban announced in April to stem the spread of Covid-19.

It has been an emotional return to a country they call home.

For many, it is a fresh start as they find new jobs.

Travel agents have said thousands more will return over the next month as residents continue to wait for the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship or the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs to approve their entry to the Emirates.

Fresh start with a new job

For Biswarup Das, it was an emotional homecoming. On Sunday, he travelled from Kolkata to Dubai and he hopes to rebuild his life.

The engineer, 42, was working in the petrochemical industry until December when he was let go. He returned to India in February.

He found a new job in April, but grew anxious when regular passenger flights from India to the UAE were suspended.

“We have faced a lot because of corona. Companies reduced manpower and cut salaries,” he said.

Mr Das is thankful for the support from a travel agency and people online who answered all his questions about approvals and Covid-19 testing.

“They were my saviours. They asked me not to do anything in a hurry but wait until things became clearer,” he said.

Initially, entry from India was limited to specific categories – those with golden visas, UAE citizens and people working in diplomatic missions.

Mr Das is now counting the days until wife and two-year-old son can join him in the UAE.

“I’m on cloud nine to be back. Coming back, I finally have a ray of hope,” he said.

Thousands more are travelling to the UAE

Sudheesh TP, general manager of Deira Travel, said large numbers of people were expected to return.

“Once all limitations like approvals are lifted, people will flock back,” he said.

“It will take a month to clear the backlog.”

The agency worked with airlines to obtain clearance from authorities for health workers and teachers. Cases were made on “humanitarian grounds” for young children to return to the UAE.

“We submitted documents to the airlines who forwarded it to the authorities for approvals. We filtered requests to check these were genuine. Authorities have been flexible in cases of family reunions,” he said.

Travel agencies said passenger traffic from India was about 40 per cent of the levels before the pandemic started.

The frequency of flights has been cut as part of the air bubble agreement between nations that allows regulated travel during the pandemic.

Mr Sudheesh is upbeat about a rise in travel during Expo 2020 Dubai.

“We are anticipating more travel from the end of September. By then, the number

In just one year, Ohio lost nearly 25% of its servers at restaurants across the state and recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Cleveland nonprofit Ohio Policy Matters show the leisure and hospitality industries aren’t on track to get many of those workers back.

At Stricker’s Grove, a 97-year-old family-run amusement park in Ross, Ohio, staffing on any given day can be a roller coaster.

“This is probably, as far as labor goes, the worst we’ve experienced it,” said Pamela Stricker, the park’s co-owner.

She and other family have been working in various spaces in the park themselves as Stricker’s Grove struggles to keep the full park staffed. There are typically enough workers to run rides for every private event, but staffing the games and golf areas when the park opens to the public four times a year sometimes involves a scramble.

“Sometimes I work at the front gate, sometimes I work at miniature golf,” said Stricker.

The park hopes to build bonds with workers through offers like free drinks all day and creating a welcoming family-like environment. It’s worked for loyal employee Kathy King, a retired Hamilton math teacher who works part time at the park. She and other die-hard employees are the few who returned after the park was shut down in 2020.

“It’s just … my happy place,” said King. “It’s nice to see both kids and adults have a good time and laugh and smile.”

The steady rise in unfilled job openings are charted in statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Mirroring that data, Ohio Policy Matters released a Labor Day report showing the leisure and hospitality industry made up 28% of all the state’s jobs destroyed during the pandemic.

The Strickers haven’t given up hope, however, and they believe what lies ahead will be better. Most of the park’s private-event clients plan to re-book for events next year and owners hope by then staffing will be closer to normal.

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SYDNEY, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The Australian and New Zealand dollars eased on Monday after data on Friday showed the world’s largest economy created the fewest job in seven months in August, but trade was expected to be subdued ahead of a Reserve Bank of Australia policy decision.

The Australian dollar was 0.15% lower at $0.7437 but remained near a two-month high of $0.74775 touched in the previous trading session.

Data on Friday showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain since January, as hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector stalled amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, though other details of the report were fairly strong.

“AUD will remain largely driven by U.S. dollar direction this week and the outlook for FOMC tapering,” analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a client note.

Trading volumes would remain low with U.S. markets closed for the Labor Day holiday, traders said, while investors were also looking ahead to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision on Tuesday.

Most analysts polled by Reuters expect the RBA to leave the cash rate at 0.1%, but are split on whether the central bank will delay tapering plans as the economy struggles with the fallout of lockdowns in various states.

If the RBA sticks to its plans to taper bond purchases, the Aussie could temporarily jump higher, analysts said.

The risk-sensitive currency has support at $0.7400 and $0.7350, and could also benefit from record dividend payments from mining companies in the short-term.

Across the Tasman sea, the kiwi fell 0.29% to $0.7141, but remained close to its highest level in nearly three months hit on Friday at $0.7170.

New Zealand reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 for a third day in a row on Monday, ahead of a government decision on whether to lift restrictions enforced in most of the country.

New Zealand government bonds traded lower, pushing yields 3 to 4 basis points higher across the curve.

Yields on Australia’s 10-year paper also rose 3 basis points to 1.264%.

Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

Since Kayleigh Caamaño and her husband, Jann, opened a pizza restaurant three years ago in Stephenville, Texas, filling open positions has never been an issue.

“We’ve always had a problem getting good people, but we’ve never had a problem hiring people,” Caamaño said. That’s partly because the restaurant is located just about a mile away from Tarleton State University’s campus, where some 14,000 undergraduates students were enrolled last fall.

“Now it’s changed to where overall people just aren’t applying,” she said, or the few who do apply ghost them after interviews or quit before they even start working.

Caamaño’s experience aligns with what many other restaurants owners have likely been facing.


In the food services industry specifically, payrolls declined by 42,000 in August

Last month there were no new jobs created across the entire leisure and hospitality industry, according to the jobs report published on Friday. In total, some 235,000 jobs were added in the U.S. last month — far below the 720,000 jobs economists had forecast.

In the food services industry specifically, payrolls declined by 42,000 in August.

Restaurants struggled to recruit and retain employees before COVID-19

Even before the pandemic, recruiting and retaining employees “had been the industry’s top challenge for many years,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association, a trade group that represents more than 380,000 restaurants. Long hours and challenging work conditions come with relatively low pay for restaurant servers; the median wage was $24,190 a year in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That challenge has intensified as more Americans have gotten vaccinated and started to dine out again. “As consumers have stepped up their restaurant usage, industry traffic has increased, creating a greater need for employees,” he told MarketWatch. In January, 8% of restaurant operators rated recruitment and retention of workforce as their top challenge; by June that number had risen to 75%, the highest level ever recorded, according to an August report by the National Restaurant Association.

High demand for workers in other industries, caregiving responsibilities and safety concerns associated with COVID-19 are collectively holding back workers from taking jobs in the restaurant sector, Riehle said.

Economists are blaming the lackluster August jobs report — and the fact that no new jobs were added in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants — primarily on the highly transmissible delta strain of COVID-19.

“It’s plausible that many employees decided to ‘sit out’ the delta spike and use the time to search for jobs that offer better pay and safer work conditions,” Aneta Markowska and Thomas Simons, economists at Jefferies, said in a note on Friday, referring to the leisure and hospitality sector.

Caam’s is located near a college campus, which usually makes it easy to recruit employees, but lately hardly anyone has applied for five open positions, said co-owner Kayleigh Caamaño.


Photo courtesy of Kayleigh Caamaño

“We have been hard-pressed to help source [talent] into the hospitality industry,” said Richard Wahlquist, president

Many people choose to go to college to further their education and boost their chances of getting a well-paying job. But not everyone can afford college, and some have no desire to take more classes after high school.

Fortunately, there are careers out there that don’t require a college education. Some of these jobs can provide workers with a comfortable salary. Here are seven high-paying careers that don’t require a traditional college degree.

1. Real estate agent

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $49,040

Real estate agents help people buy and sell properties. You can become a residential or a commercial real estate agent. For this job, you’ll need to be great with people, have excellent sales skills, and be able to deal with high-stress situations.

Income can vary, as most real estate agents don’t make a base salary. Instead, they make a commission when properties close. The commission percentage varies by state and is based on the property’s sale price. More successful, experienced realtors tend to make more than the median wage.

While a traditional college degree isn’t a requirement, you need to study for and pass license exams to become a licensed real estate agent. Some states also require a certain number of hours to be spent on education and training.

►Job numbers:Economy added 235,000 jobs in August amid COVID surge, worker shortage. Unemployment fell to 5.2%.

►’I quit’:Workers change jobs at a record pace amid burnout, new openings with higher pay

2. Executive assistant

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $63,110

Working as an executive assistant is a busy, fast-paced career option. The job provides administrative assistance and support to high-level executives. An executive assistant typically serves as a gatekeeper to anyone trying to meet with or talk to an executive. To succeed in this role, you’ll need to have good communication and organizational skills, be a problem solver, and be able to juggle multiple tasks at once.

Some executive assistants have college degrees, but it’s not always required. Previous administrative, project management, and leadership experience may help you land this role.

3. Electrician

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $56,900

This career is in demand, no matter where you live. An electrician installs, maintains, and repairs electrical systems and products. Electricians can do work in residential buildings, commercial buildings, and factories. In this role, someone can work for a company or they can start their own business.

A college degree is not required to be an electrician. Some people choose to enroll in a trade program to learn how to become an electrician. It’s possible to complete these programs in less than a year before learning on the job in an electrician apprenticeship role. In most states, electricians need to be licensed. Licensing may be at the state or local level.

4. Sales representative

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $86,650

Sales representatives sell products or services. Inside sales representatives sell from an office or home, while outside sales representatives travel around to meet with prospective