Hiring slowed sharply in August as a new surge in coronavirus infections slammed the brakes on the economic recovery.
U.S. employers added just 235,000 jobs last month, a sharp slowdown from the torrid pace of hiring in June and July.
“The labor market recovery has downshifted,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist for the payroll processing company ADP. “The U.S. economy is facing increasing headwinds as the pandemic wears on and the delta variant creates uncertainty.”
The unemployment rate fell to 5.2% in August from 5.4% in July.
Confirmed coronavirus infections have jumped nearly 20% in the last two weeks, while COVID-19 deaths have nearly doubled during that period. The worsening public health outlook threw a late-summer speed bump in the recovery, making people more cautious about traveling and eating out and reducing the need for workers.
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