BUSINESS

Jobless rate drops slightly to 5.2% nationwide

Sep 3, 2021, 6:34 AM | Updated: 8:25 am
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The economy added 235,000 jobs in the month of August, which resulted in a .2% drop in the jobless rate to 5.2% nationwide. However, the total number of jobs added was far fewer than expected. 

Zions Bank Senior Economist Robert Spendlove told Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio the most pessimistic preview had the economy adding at least 350,000 jobs, so 235,000 was disappointing. 

“I think what this reflects is this really tightening labor market, we’ve got 10 million job openings in the country right now,” Spendlove said Friday. “And so there just aren’t enough jobs, and there aren’t enough people coming back into the labor force. When we look at that participation rate, you know, kind of that — the rate of people that are engaging in the labor force — stayed constant. So we’re not pulling more people off the sidelines and back into jobs.” 

Delta variant impact on jobless rate

The Wall Street Journal reported two possible reasons for the slowed hiring: businesses potentially holding back on new hires as a result of the trending virus case counts, and jobless people concerned about health risks finding themselves more reluctant to return to the workforce.

Spendlove expects more uncertainty in the near future for the jobless rate. 

“This is kind of the theme of the pandemic, is there’s just more uncertainty,” he said. “It’s really hard to know what to expect when we’ve got these new variants coming out. We’ve got these labor shortages. I expect — the economy is still fundamentally strong, but we are entering a period of more weakness.” 

Listen to the full interview below. 

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