America's unemployed are sending a message: They'll go back to work when they feel safe - and well compensated

The September employment report with 194,000 new jobs shows how slow the recovery has been. However, it also indicates something deeper: America's jobless are still dealing with health and child-care issues and are reluctant to return jobs that they consider unsafe or underpaid.
Economists had predicted that September would see a spike in employment as millions of workers lost their unemployment benefits and schools across the country reopened. Last month was a poor month for hiring, with a shocking number of women having to quit work to manage unstable child-care and school situations.

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These numbers are staggering: In September, 309,000 women aged 20 and older left the workforce. This means that they stopped looking for work or quit their jobs. Labor Department data revealed that 182,000 men joined this labor force.

The fastest spreading coronavirus delta is the reason for September's mediocre job gains. The coronavirus spread quickly and slowed down the recovery. People in many areas of the country were less likely to travel or eat out. Only 2,100 new jobs were created in hotels, and only 29,000 in restaurants.

The coronavirus epidemic also hampered the reopening public schools and the return of in-person learning. Staff members raised concerns about the spread of coronavirus in schools, and bus drivers were also concerned. Bus drivers are not allowed to drive vehicles full of children because they can't get vaccinated.

It's been so unpredictable. "In-person school was not reliable and working moms had the challenge of trying to have a successful career." said Alicia Sasser Modestino from Northeastern University. "My nine-year-old was ill and couldn't go to school today when she woke up." This is what I'm experiencing right now.

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The September jobs report provided new evidence to refute Republicans' claims that generous unemployment assistance has kept people out of the workforce. Millions of people had their aid cut or reduced significantly at the beginning of September. However, there wasn't an immediate return to work for workers.

The jobs report reveals that the recovery has been uneven and bumpy. It is not easy to understand why the United States has approximately 11 million job opportunities and 7.7 millions unemployed.

While the coronavirus is still a significant factor in people's hesitancy returning to work, there are deeper issues in 2021. Low-wage workers are protesting years of low pay and stressful working conditions. It is not clear how the Great Reassessment will unfold. People are still reluctant to accept the first job they see if they don’t think they’re good jobs. They aren't afraid to leave a job they don’t like.

"The delta variant slowing down was the big news from the jobs report," said Betsey Stevenson, University of Michigan economist. Betsey Stephenson, University of Michigan economist, said that this disproportionately affected lower-wage workers. People also believe they can wait for a better or safer job.

The report's most striking finding is the drop in unemployment in the United States to 4.8% in September. This was the lowest level since the pandemic. This is a remarkable rebound in only a year and half since April 2020 when the official unemployment rate was 14.7%. (And it was probably higher because the Census Bureau had difficulty doing its usual interviews that month).

After the Great Recession, it took almost seven years for unemployment levels to fall this low. People credit the quick response of the government, which included trillions in aid to American households and businesses, with keeping people from falling into poverty, and helping to drive a faster rebound.

However, the unemployment rate fell for the wrong reason. The labor force shrank in September. As they struggled with schooling and child care, fewer people were looking for work, particularly women. During this crisis, more than 5 million Americans stopped searching for work. The big question is: Will they ever return?

Bahar Cetinsoy belongs to those millions. Before the pandemic, she was a substitute teacher in New York City. After her husband received another job offer, she and her husband moved to College Park, Md. Cetinsoy wants to become a teacher in her new state. Without that certification, she can't do much in her field. Their young son was also born during the pandemic.

"Childcare is a major factor. It is expensive. She said that if I got a part-time teaching position, I would have to pay much more for child care than what I make. "I have never been without a job for this long."

Wall Street's optimistic view is that September was just another blip. The public education job market saw a significant decline. This was not common and was likely due to many schools having hired over the summer rather than waiting until September. The private sector saw a 317,000 increase in hiring last month, even though it did not include public and government education jobs.

There were modest job gains in almost every industry except government in September. There were 74,000 new hospitality jobs, 60,000 service jobs added, 56,000 retail jobs and 47,000 transportation and warehouse jobs. There were also 26,000 manufacturing jobs.

It is encouraging to see coronavirus cases subsiding. This means that vaccines for children could soon be available. This gives rise to renewed optimism that hiring will increase in the second half of the year, and possibly into 2022.

"The runway has been cleared for a fall/winter job boom. "I don't know when it will start, but I believe that it's coming," Adam Ozimek, chief economic economist at Upwork, a job site.

However, forecasters are often too optimistic for this year. People feel that they are unable to go back to work. Some people are unable to return to work because of ongoing eldercare and child-care concerns. Others are concerned about working in an environment that is highly susceptible to the coronavirus, or where they will be exposed to customers who do not have their vaccines and masks on. While some of these issues may be resolved in the next few months, many business and government leaders underestimate the duration of the deadly virus.

Beyond the virus itself, it is important to ask what jobs and how much people will return for. While hourly wages rose in September, as businesses tried to attract workers with higher pay, the wage gains were almost completely wiped out by this year's higher inflation.

It is also clear that there is a significant difference in the way white-collar, college-educated workers perceive this economy and non-college-educated workers.

People with a college degree, or at least some college education, saw their September employment increase by 350,000. However, the employment rate for Americans without a high school diploma or less fell by over 430,000.

Stevenson, University of Michigan economist, stated that "the labor market isn’t working at all"

Many working-class Americans still have savings from unemployment aid and stimulus checks. They often add to their savings by getting gig jobs such as driving for Uber Eats. This gives them more time to wait for the right job.

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