Hiring slowed sharply in August across the U.S. as employers added a disappointing 235,000 jobs, with COVID-19 surges dampening both consumer demand and Americans’ willingness to return to work, according to reporting from USA Today on Friday.
Restaurants and bars, which had been driving record employment gains, shed jobs.
The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different survey, fell from 5.4% to 5.2%, the Labor Department said Friday.
Economists had estimated that 750,000 jobs were added last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.
So far, the U.S. has recovered 17 million, or 76%, of the 22.4 million jobs lost in the spring of last year, leaving the nation 5.3 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level.
“Before delta, we were looking for (1 million plus monthly) payroll gains in the fall, but that’s now going to be a real struggle,” says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics.
However, Cascade County has been steady in employment, according to Montana Department of Labor & Industry Public Information Officer Jessica Nelson.
Prior to the recession, Great Falls and northcentral Montana had experienced several years of slower economic gains than the rest of the state, Nelson said in an email. She said the area was still growing, but not as quickly as the statewide average.
“During the pandemic, Cascade County has followed pretty similar patterns to the rest of the state, and is close to an employment recovery,” Nelson said. “Great…