The August jobs report shows the pandemic is keeping workers home – not enhanced unemployment benefits

an unemployed worker holds a sign that says  I Am angry as hell Fix Unemployment Now,'
Odirus Charles holds a sign that reads, ‘ I Am angry as hell Fix Unemployment Now,’ as he joins others in a protest on May 22, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

  • The August jobs report showed dismal job growth, marking a bump in America’s economic recovery.
  • The low number of jobs added shows that the pandemic is still strangling the economy.
  • It also counters the narrative that enhanced benefits were keeping workers at home.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The number of jobs added in August came in dismally below economists’ expectations, showing yet another bump in the road for America’s economic recovery.

August’s data also shows that the pandemic’s newest surge – and not enhanced unemployment benefits – is responsible for workers staying home.

America added just 235,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly report. Economists were anticipating an addition of 733,000 payrolls, Insider’s Ben Winck reports. It’s a huge slowdown from the 1.1 million jobs added in July.

In August, 5.6 million people said that they were unable to work due to the pandemic. That’s an increase from July, where 5.2 million cited the pandemic as keeping them from work. And 1.5 million people said that the pandemic prevented them from looking for work – a number that did not drop from July.

That shows the ongoing pandemic, and especially the rise of the more-contagious Delta variant, is still heavily weighing on the jobs market.

Notably, August’s jobs report likely captures our fullest picture yet of the impact that ending enhanced unemployment benefits had on workers. At least 25 states opted out of federal benefits early after similarly weak jobs reports this spring, with governors pointing to beefed-up benefits as the reason that people weren’t returning.

The stated goal for ending benefits was simple: To get people back to work.

“Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a press release announcing that federal benefits would end June 19.

Benefits in those states all came to an end by mid-July; August’s report is based on the state of the labor market from August 8 to 14. The weak job growth numbers coming after the end of expanded benefits in half the states suggest that those cuts aren’t causing a surge in hiring, or at least not enough of a surge to overcome the Delta slowdown.

Research has found that states that ended benefits early lost $2 billion in consumer spending, which likely didn’t help the situation either.

Leisure and hospitality, a primarily in-person and low-wage industry that was hit particularly hard by the pandemic and shutdowns last year, had previously been leading the way in recovery. The sector added nearly 400,000 jobs in July, but in August, employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged, adding a net zero jobs during the month – and food services and drinking places shed 42,000 jobs.

With enhanced benefits ending, those plentiful low-wage service jobs that some unemployed workers were being nudged towards – and where anecdotal labor shortages abounded – were stalling out. At the same time, more people were out of work due to the pandemic.

“Delta seems to be the overwhelming factor affecting the labor market right now,” Daniel Zhao, a senior economist at Glassdoor, told Insider. “It’s entirely possible that the withdrawal of enhanced unemployment benefits led to a small increase in payrolls, but it’s just being completely overwhelmed by Delta.”

The dismal August numbers come as all federal unemployment benefits are set to end on Monday. The left-leaning Century Foundation estimates 7.5 million workers will lose benefits completely, and researchers project that benefits ending could lead to an $8 billion drop in spending. Research has also found ending benefits early had little effect on employment.

Some advocates and politicians have argued it’s too early to end the benefits, but the Biden administration has already affirmed they’ll come to a close on Monday. The administration did say that states could step in to continue to provide benefits with American Rescue Plan funds. So far, none of them are.

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August’s grim slowdown in hiring just knocked America’s full economic recovery back 2 months – to April 2022

Now Hiring man with mask
A man wearing a mask walks past a “now hiring” sign on Melrose Avenue amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

  • The August jobs report was so bad it added two months to the projected economic recovery.
  • The US won’t return to pre-crisis employment levels until April 2022, Insider calculated.
  • Soaring Delta cases and possible weak hiring in key sectors this fall could delay the recovery even further.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US employers slammed the brakes on hiring last month. That has massive ramifications for the broader economic recovery.

The US added just 235,000 payrolls in August, according to data published Friday. That’s less than a third of the 733,000 jobs expected and the weakest month of job growth since January.

It also marks a massive slowdown from the promising growth seen just one month prior. July job creation was revised higher to 1.1 million, and June’s was also lifted to 962,000 new jobs. The deceleration in monthly job growth was so sharp, it added two months to the projections of when the US will reach pre-pandemic employment, according to Insider calculations.

Using the three-month moving average for US payroll growth, the jobs recovery is now expected to arrive in April 2022. By comparison, July’s stellar report shortened the projected recovery by four months, to land on February 2022.

The August report alone paints an even bleaker picture of the future.

If last month’s pace of hiring continues into the fall, it will take nearly two more years to return to the employment levels seen in February 2020.

And the full-recovery forecast only places payrolls at the highs seen before the pandemic. Job growth was trending at roughly 200,000 new payrolls per month before the crisis. The labor market is down roughly 5.3 million jobs from pre-pandemic levels, but returning to the early 2020 trend will require adding some 8.7 million jobs, Insider calculated.

Signs point to job creation floundering in the coming months.

The August report’s survey period ended halfway through last month, and virus cases have only risen in the weeks since. With the health situation worsening, subpar September data is likely in the cards, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.

“This is just the start of the Delta hit,” he added. “September likely will be weak too, and we’re becoming nervous about the prospects for a decent revival in October, given that behavior lags cases, and cases are yet to peak.”

An even harsher Delta wave stands to further slam the sectors that were previously leading the jobs recovery. Hiring was flat in the leisure and hospitality sector in August after average monthly gains of 350,000 payrolls the previous six months. Restaurants and bars shed 42,000 payrolls, and retailers lost 29,000 jobs.

Those sectors were the hardest hit by the pandemic’s onset last year, and the August report suggests the Delta wave is powering yet another slump.

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US stocks fall after massive miss on August jobs report

NYSE Trader surprised

US fell Friday after the August jobs report badly missed economist expectations.

The US added 235,000 payrolls in August, badly missing the median estimate of 733,000 added jobs. Meanwhile the unemployment rate fell to 5.2% from 5.4%, matching estimates. The month demonstrated the influence the coronavirus Delta variant had on the labor market recovery.

The report has prompted hopes that the Fed will continue its support for the economy for longer.

“The Fed has hung its hat on the assumption that people are starting to return to work, and unfortunately today’s number will be a disappointment to them,” said Seema Shah, Principal Global Investors’ chief strategist. “After having indicated a taper was likely in the next few months, August payrolls perhaps throws that into disarray.”

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Friday:

Shah said that while inflation has clearly met levels that indicate “substantial further progress” in the economy, it doesn’t appear to have made a sufficient impression on the Federal Reserve. The US central bank appears much more focused on the employment recovery, and today’s disappointing number may sway the Fed to not scale back its asset purchases until November, or potentially later, she added.

“Friday’s weaker-than-expected jobs puts less pressure on the Fed to taper its stimulus, which is likely to provide a short-term boost for stocks. The stock market loves stimulus and any indication that the Fed will remain fully accommodative is good news for investors,” said Jay Pestrichelli, CEO of investment firm ZEGA Financial.

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Bitcoin held steady at around $50,800 Friday morning after breaking the $50,000 barrier on Thursday.

West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 0.60%, to $70.40 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 0.78%, to $73.60 a barrel.

Gold climbed 0.92%, to $1,828.10 per ounce.

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Gold and silver claw back losses after Friday’s stellar jobs report ignited concerns over tighter Fed policy and unleashed a ‘flash crash’

FILE PHOTO: Gold bullion is displayed at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall
  • Gold and silver were recovering somewhat on Monday from a flash crash in Asia trading session.
  • Gold fell as much as 4% to $1,707 an ounce, and silver fell 9% to $22.10 at one point late Sunday.
  • Prices are under pressure from growing expectations the Fed will rein in stimulus sooner than seen, given Friday’s stellar jobs report.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Gold and silver prices on Monday recovered slightly from a sharp slide at the start of Asian trading, but were weighed down by rising expectations that the US Federal Reserve will cut back on its bond buying sooner than expected.

Spot gold prices declined 4% to $1,707 per ounce late Sunday, while spot silver prices dropped 9% from $24.34 to $22.10 an ounce.

Both metals are paring losses after the “flash crash”. Gold was trading at $1,748 per ounce at 4:55 a.m. ET Monday, down 0.8% on the day and at its lowest level since April. Silver was down 1.7% at $23.90 an ounce after touching its lowest level since December.

The flash crash occured after gold broke through a technical support level and triggered stop-loss orders. These orders to sell kick in once an asset hits a certain price, and they had an impact on a day of low liquidity in Asia due to holidays, some analysts said.

“With liquidity at zero to non-existent (on Monday), it is clear that when gold moved through $1,750 an ounce, it set off a cascading negative feedback loop of stop-loss selling into a market with no bids,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

Speculation among traders about the flash crash pointed to an order to sell $4 billion in gold futures, according to Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss. China, looking to drive up the US dollar, or short sellers were behind the order, according to the chatter.

While the precious metals are recovering somewhat, seen by analysts as likely due to bargain hunters entering the market, they remain under pressure after a stellar July US jobs report on Friday.

This improved outlook, alongside rising inflation, is seen as increasing the chances the Fed will start to narrow its stimulus support sooner than previously seen. Comments from Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan last week that the central bank should start tapering asset purchases soon – and gradually over about eight months – helped raise expectations.

Gradual slowing of the Fed’s large-scale asset purchases is now now very likely to start before Christmas, according to OANDA’s Halley.

Read More: Legendary technical analyst Katie Stockton shares her secret sauce for spotting turning points in markets with 3 of her top indicators – and why the charts signal ether is set to crush bitcoin

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Biden crows over July jobs report, saying ‘the Biden plan is working’ as more Americans are, too

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • The July jobs report proves stimulus and vaccinations are reviving the economy, Biden said.
  • “The Biden plan is working” and helping the country recoup its lost jobs, he added.
  • Still, vaccinations need to continue for the labor market to fully recover, the president said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden trumpeted the government’s encouraging jobs data on Friday, deeming July’s job gains the result of successful policy – his.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday the US economy added 943,000 jobs in July, beating economist forecasts and marking the strongest month of payroll creation since last August.

Nearly every facet of the report was cause for celebration. The unemployment rate fell more than expected to 5.4%. Employment broadened out across racial lines. Wage growth exceeded estimates. And labor force participation ticked higher, suggesting the worker shortage weakened. At the current pace of job growth, the labor market’s rebound is three times faster than that seen after the Great Recession.

The recovery is far from complete, with some 6 million jobs left to recoup. But the July print proves the White House’s strategy is effective, Biden said.

“We doubtlessly will have ups and downs along the way as we continue to battle the Delta surge of COVID,” he added. “What is indisputable now is this: the Biden plan is working, the Biden plan produces results, and the Biden plan is moving the country forward.”

The president attributed the success to his administration’s vaccination campaign and the $1.9 trillion stimulus package approved in March. Direct payments of up to $1,400, enhanced unemployment benefits, and small business loans helped keep employers and jobless Americans afloat until the economy reopened, Biden said. And as the Delta variant continues to spread, vaccination is even more critical to maintaining the recovery’s momentum, he added.

The resurgence in virus cases now looms over the recovery. The July report’s survey period ended halfway through the month and therefore missed the weeks when the Delta variant sent case counts soaring. Several state and local authorities have already reimposed mask-wearing rules, and a continued rise in cases could prompt even stricter measures. That risks slamming the brakes on the recovery and weighing on August economic data.

Biden acknowledged the concerns on Friday and reiterated his call for Americans to get vaccinated. The country sits in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and protecting against more virus deaths is the key to reaching a healthy normal, Biden said.

“My message today is not one of celebration. It’s one to remind us we’ve got a lot of hard work left to be done, both to beat the Delta variant and to continue our advance of economic recovery,” the president added.

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The economy’s recovery from COVID is 3 times faster than the rebound from the Great Recession

Job fair Florida
A man hands his resume to an employer at the 25th annual Central Florida Employment Council Job Fair at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

  • Strong July job gains further separate the COVID recovery from the Great Recession’s.
  • The current recovery is recouping lost jobs nearly three times faster than the late 2000s did.
  • Unemployment is falling now, but it kept rising for six months at the same point of the Great Recession.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While 2008 and 2020 are both known for economic catastrophe, the July jobs report confirms their recoveries are wholly different.

For the second month in a row, the US added nearly 1 million jobs and beat economists’ expectations for hiring. Government data published Friday showed the unemployment rate sliding to 5.4%, wages climbing strongly, and employment broadening across racial lines. By practically every measure, the report showed the labor market recovering dramatically. It’s a far cry from April’s dismal jobs report, which came in at 269,000 jobs, when nearly 1 million was expected, but better late than never.

The path to full employment also stands in stark contrast to the recovery from the Great Recession. Payrolls still sit 3.7% below their pre-crisis peak 17 months into the pandemic, according to Insider calculations. It took 48 months for the country to reach that same milestone after the financial crisis.

“I have yet to find a blemish in this jobs report,” Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors for President Barack Obama, said. “I’ve never before seen such a wonderful set of economic data.”

Where the US is now squarely on the road to a complete recovery, the country was still mired in economic hurt at the same point of the Great Recession. Seventeen months into the 2008 downturn, unemployment kept climbing for another six months before the labor market began to heal.

The trend of job creation is even more encouraging. Even if job growth slows slightly from the July pace, the US is still on track to recoup its lost payrolls by the end of 2022. That would be five times faster than it took to recover every job lost during the Great Recession, Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote in a tweet.

Jason Furman, who chaired President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors during the Great Recession, wrote on Twitter, “I have yet to find a blemish in this jobs report. I’ve never before seen such a wonderful set of economic data.”

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July jobs report beats estimates as businesses add 943,000 payrolls amid steady recovery

Help wanted sign
Restaurant storefront on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck has “Help Wanted” sign in window on July 15, 2021.

  • July job gains totaled 943,000 payrolls in July, exceeding the median estimate of 870,000 new jobs.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.9%, beating the 5.7% forecast.
  • The print shows job creation persevering as COVID cases rebounded and enhanced unemployment benefits lapsed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Job growth in the US exceeded economists’ expectations in July, signaling the labor market’s recovery was mostly unscathed as COVID cases rebounded.

The country added 943,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. The gain beat the median forecast of 870,000 new jobs from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. It also marks a healthy acceleration from growth seen the month prior, which was revised to 938,000 payrolls from 850,000.

The July increase serves as the seventh straight month of job additions and leaves 8.7 million Americans still unemployed. The unemployment rate dipped to 5.4% from 5.9%, also beating the median estimate of 5.7%.

“Despite the improvement, we still have a ways to go with the economy remaining 5.7 million jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. But things are undeniably moving in the right direction,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, said.

The labor-force participation rate rose slightly to 61.7%. The measure has taken on more relevance in recent months as businesses face difficulties hiring. The labor-shortage phenomenon has prompted many firms to lift wages in hopes of attracting workers. While conservative economists and politicians have blamed enhanced unemployment benefits for slower-than-expected hiring in the spring, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said school closures and virus fears also stifled participation through reopening.

Wage growth exceeded expectations once again, with average hourly earnings climbing 11 cents to $30.54. The uptick in wages – particularly in the hardest-hit service sectors – signals businesses paid more upfront to counter the labor shortage.

The Friday print also reveals businesses continued to hire despite the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading across the US. Daily case counts leaped from their recent lows throughout July and ended the month at their highest levels since February.

To be sure, the BLS report’s survey period ended in the middle of July, before headlines on the Delta variant gripped the country. The past week also saw state and local governments reinstate some mask-wearing rules to curb the virus’s spread, raising some concerns that another wave of infections could hinder the recovery.

Progress toward the new normal

The government’s monthly employment report gives the most detailed snapshot of which businesses hired the most and previews what the post-pandemic labor market might look like.

The U-6 unemployment rate – which includes people working part-time for economic reasons and those marginally attached to the labor force – dropped to 9.6% from 10.1% on an unadjusted basis.

The leisure and hospitality sector again added the most jobs, with a gain of 380,000 payrolls. Two-thirds of the gains were in restaurants and bars. The sector is still down about 1.7 million jobs from levels seen just before the pandemic.

Local government education followed with a 221,000-payroll increase. The retail sector shed the most payrolls with a decline of roughly 6,000 jobs.

“While local government education added a large number of jobs this month, the private sector is driving the acceleration,” Nick Bunker, economic research director at employment website Indeed, said. “This means the rise in growth this month is not just a statistical quirk. The labor market is gaining momentum.”

About 5.2 million Americans cited COVID-19 as the main reason why their employers closed down. That’s down from 6.2 million in June. The number of Americans naming the pandemic as the primary reason they didn’t seek work held at about 1.6 million.

The share of Americans working remotely fell to 13.2% from 14.4%. While down from last year’s highs, the reading suggests a significant proportion of workers will continue telecommuting even after the pandemic fades.

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The economy is getting better, but the rest of 2021 will be far from normal

Job fair Florida
A man hands his resume to an employer at the 25th annual Central Florida Employment Council Job Fair at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

  • The 2021 economy has been a wild ride with reopenings, people quitting jobs, and firms desperate to hire.
  • Economic data points to improvements in the second half of the year as wages rise and jobs increase.
  • But not for everyone. Unemployment for teenagers and Black and Hispanic workers is still high.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Halfway through 2021, the June jobs report signals a good step forward, but let’s not call this economy “normal” just yet. Things are still kinda weird.

The US added 850,000 jobs last month, beating estimates and showing a strong acceleration in the labor market’s recovery. It was the largest one-month jump since August and the sixth straight month of gains. After a bumpy six months for the labor market’s recovery, it’s starting to look like smoother sailing.

But it’s still choppy. While the sectors that transitioned to remote work have regained almost all lost jobs, those hit hardest remain far from healed. And while pandemic lockdowns have reversed, businesses will have to rehire in a wholly new environment.

The first strange signs for the economy came in April, when vaccinations were running ahead of schedule and reopening started in earnest. The jobs report that month was expected to show 1 million payrolls added, but it was a paltry quarter of that figure. Job openings sat at record highs, but factors ranging from virus fears to childcare costs kept workers on the sidelines. It was better than fears of a double-dip recession – when jobs unexpectedly dropped in December – but it was decidedly abnormal.

As the country reopens, the post-pandemic labor market is taking shape. It has little in common with the one left behind in early 2020.

An early look at the new job market

Working from home redefined employment, real estate, even culture in 2020. It’s shrinking back from its widespread adoption, but it may be here to stay. Despite many state and local governments reversing their strictest economic restrictions, roughly 14% of Americans still telecommuted in June.

The labor shortage remains an obstacle for businesses looking to hire, and it’s having an effect on workers’ pay. Average earnings climbed again in June. Pay grew the most in the leisure and hospitality sector, suggesting higher pay helped businesses hire more workers.

On the other end of the market, only 10% of job seekers are urgently looking for work, according to hiring giant Indeed. Most are taking a more leisurely approach, citing virus fears and financial cushions. June data reflects that relaxed pace; the number of people actively looking for a job was flat and the unemployment rate edged higher to 5.9%.

And while job growth broadly improved in June, the recovery is still leaving several groups behind. Despite a hiring bonanza for low-wage jobs, unemployment among teenagers rose to 9.9% from 9.6%. Unemployment among Latinos rose 0.1 point to 7.4%, while Black unemployment gained to 9.2% from 9.1%. That compares to the 5.2% unemployment rate seen among whites.

Relief programs for unemployment and student loans are about to end

There’s reason to believe Americans will take more jobs in the months ahead.

Several states are just starting to end the federal boost to unemployment insurance (UI) ahead of its September expiration. Twenty-six states in total – all but one are Republican-led – are set to end the benefit early in an effort to spur hiring. And jobless claims data suggests the effort is working. Filings for UI fell to a new pandemic-era low last week.

Other government relief programs, including the student-loan freeze, are also set to lapse in the fall. Economists refer to the deadline as a “fiscal cliff” and expect it to drive more Americans into the workforce.

Continued vaccinations, school reopenings, and reskilling should have a similar effect, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a June 16 press conference. Childcare costs and virus fears kept countless Americans at home, unable to find work. As those pressures diminish in the coming months, it’s likely worker supply will more closely match labor demand, Powell said.

“I think it’s clear, and I am confident, that we are on a path to a very strong labor market,” he added. “I would expect that we would see strong job creation building up over the summer and going into the fall.”

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Leisure and hospitality workers got a ton of jobs in June – and they got a raise

Restaurant server US
  • Leisure and hospitality added 343,000 payrolls in June, making up 40% of total job gains.
  • The June jobs report also showed higher wages for those workers, suggesting pay increases are helping hiring.
  • But wages in the sector are still recovering from the hit caused by the coronavirus recession.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The June jobs report added 850,000 payrolls, going beyond expectations as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic. A large chunk of the big jobs gain came from leisure and hospitality, and the reason for this likely comes down to higher wages.

Of the 850,000 payrolls added, leisure and hospitality made up 343,000 of them, or 40% of the total gain. Pay in the sector jumped 3.6% over the past three months, and the correlation between increased jobs and increased wages is suggesting that higher wages work. For the month of June, wages shot up 7.1% from a year ago, the biggest gain for any sector.

“The continued progress for the leisure and hospitality sector is excellent news. Continued payroll gains for these industries hit so hard by the pandemic is a sign that more workers can quickly return to work,” Nick Bunker, economic research director for jobs site Indeed, wrote in a statement. He added that 23% of gains added overall last month were from food services and drinking places.

Despite the fifth consecutive month of gains in the industry, leisure and hospitality is still 2.2 million jobs, or 12.9%, below pre-pandemic employment. However, Bunker told Insider that given the progress made in the industry, it looks like the pace of recovery is pretty quick.

Following the April jobs report that fell significantly below expectations, Insider reported that one of the possible reasons workers weren’t rushing back to work, despite a high number of job openings, was that they were holding out for higher wages.

Around the same time, major companies including Costco and Target have raised their minimum wages to at least $15 an hour, putting pressure on other employers to follow suit.

But, as Heidi Shierholz, a former Obama administration economist and now director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute, pointed out on Twitter, wages for workers in leisure and hospitality “plummeted” last year during the recession, so even with the strong wage growth in those sectors this year, wages are not that much higher than if the pandemic had never happened.

“Over the last three months, leisure & hospitality has added 977,000 jobs-well over half of the 1.7 million total jobs added over that period,” Shierholz wrote. She added that these numbers “are just not signaling a big labor shortage.”

In an attempt to remedy the labor shortage, GOP-led states have been ending unemployment benefits early under the argument the benefits are disincentivizing the return to work. But June’s jobs data were collected before some of the cuts went into effect, meaning benefits might not have been the problem, rather, low wages were.

Betsey Stevenson, another former economist for the Obama administration, wrote on Twitter that the solution to finding workers is simply offering a higher wage.

“So it turns out that you can find workers, you just have to pay a better wage than in the past because wages of low-wage workers are going up.”

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US stocks extend record highs as investors digest surprisingly strong June jobs report

NYSE traders
  • The S&P 500 on Friday heads toward a new record high after a robust June jobs report.
  • Blue-chip and tech stocks also rose after US data showed the creation of 850,000 jobs last month.
  • Stock trading will be closed Monday for Independence Day.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US stocks jumped higher Friday, aiming for a seventh straight day of record highs after the June jobs report indicated accelerating growth in the labor market of the world’s largest economy which as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

All three of Wall Street’s main benchmark indexes advanced, with the S&P 500 up after logging its sixth consecutive record-high close on Thursday.

Ahead of the opening bell, the Labor Department reported the addition of 850,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls last month. Economists had expected growth of 703,000 jobs, according to an Econoday estimate.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. on Friday:

The report showed a pickup in hiring in the leisure and hospitality industry, among others. That sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as bars, restaurants, and air travel were temporarily shut down to curb the spread of the virus. The data arrived before investors take a break on Monday as stock trading will be closed in observance of Independence Day.

“We got some early fireworks in the jobs report as the numbers blew past expectations,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, in a note Friday.

“In the current environment, we remain positive of cyclical sectors such as financials and industrials, but we are complementing that with higher quality, large tech companies which will act defensively in the event that growth slows down in the next couple years after the initial post-pandemic boost.”

Around the markets, Virgin Galactic Holdings shares jumped at least 31% early Friday after founder Richard Branson said he will travel on the spaceflight company’s test flight on July 11, days before Jeff Bezos’ planned trip to space.

Gold rose 0.4% to $1,784.28 per ounce. Long-dated US Treasury yields fell, with the 10-year yield at 1.434%.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 0.6%, to $74.75 per barrel as OPEC and its allies meet for a second day to discuss output levels. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, lost 0.7% to $75.34 per barrel .

Bitcoin fell 1.3%, to $33,008.45.

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