Employment Summary for August 2021
Robust growth in the leisure and hospitality industry faltered in August as the Delta variant put pressure on non-farm hiring. Despite that factor, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an increase in total nonfarm payroll employment of 235,000 jobs. Results were below analyst expectations but in line with some forecasts that had recognized the potential slowdown in leisure and hospitality hiring. The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.2 percent.
The percent of nonfarm workers reporting that they teleworked at some point in the past four weeks because of the of the pandemic was little changed from the prior month. In August, 13.4 percent of employed persons reported teleworking, perhaps indicating a new base of the level of work-from-home behavior.
“Demand for talent, particularly transformative talent, continues to drive revenue and placement growth in our global Network of 300 executive search offices. Our consultants recruit top executive, technical, managerial, and professional talent for clients in virtually every industry sector. In our most recently reported month, July 2021, our offices successfully completed almost 50 percent more search assignments versus the same period last year,” said Bert Miller, President and CEO of MRI. “We saw strength in every industry practice area with particular strength in the professional services and financial industry sectors. However, client demand for talent is not only focused on ‘permanent’ positions. Flexible work arrangements, or contract placements, represent a significant factor in our talent solution services. More companies now realize they can get critical work done through both interim and full-time work arrangements.”
As reported by Fox Business, “The variant may have discouraged some Americans from flying, shopping and eating out. Americans have been buying fewer plane tickets and reducing hotel stays. Restaurant dining, after having fully recovered in late June, has declined to about 10% below pre-pandemic levels.”
Additional context to today’s BLS numbers were provided by David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. “Despite the Delta variant, there is still an opening up of the service sector of the U.S. economy. While that started some months ago, it’s not nearly complete.”
Employment in professional and business services increased by 74,000 in August. Employment rose in architectural and engineering services (+19,000), computer systems design and related services (+10,000), scientific research and development services (+7,000), and office administrative services (+6,000).
Transportation and warehousing added 53,000 jobs in August, bringing employment in the industry slightly above (+22,000) its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Employment gains have been led by strong growth in couriers and messengers and in warehousing and storage, which added 20,000 jobs each in August.
Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs in August, with gains in motor vehicles and parts (+24,000) and fabricated metal products (+7,000).
In other sectors, “other services” industry added 37,000 jobs in August, employment in information increased by 17,000 and employment in financial activities rose by 16,000 over the month, with most of the gain occurring in real estate (+11,000).
Employment in retail trade declined by 29,000 in August, with losses in food and beverage stores (-23,000).
As noted above, in August, employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged, after increasing by an average of 350,000 per month over the prior six months. In August, employment showed little change in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, and healthcare.
“Our Network of talent professionals are meeting client demand for top performers every day. A key message we convey to our clients is to focus on truly brilliant talent at every level of their organization. These performers can be characterized as ‘multipliers,’ the people on a team who can multiply their impact. They don’t wait to be given direction, rather they relish entering the fray immediately. They are high performers who can accomplish an above average work rate and bring others up alongside them. Identifying the attributes takes skill, but there are signs that top interviewers can spot during the hiring process. We help clients surround themselves with these players at every organizational level. In today’s rapidly evolving world of work, multipliers provide a competitive edge,” noted Miller.
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- The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded here: