“The pandemic has always been in the driver’s seat of this recovery,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, during a call with reporters Wednesday. “The name of the jobs recovery game is still ‘uneven’.”
Whether either of these phenomena returns remains to be seen.
Economists polled by Refinitiv predict half a million jobs were added to the economy last month, revised up from previous estimates of 473,000 additional jobs. The unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 5.1%, just a hair below the August rate of 5.2%.
That would be more than double the disappointing 235,000 jobs that were added in the August report, which underperformed expectations by about half a million.
Even if September is better than expected for jobs, the recovery continues down its rocky road.
Widespread worker shortages have been a big asterisk on the recovery, as concerns such as child care, virus exposure, and some workers waiting for better job opportunities, kept people at home.
Without the seasonal adjustments, 258,909 claims were filed last week.
The government’s enhanced unemployment benefits expired at the start of September. Economists are undecided as to how much the generous pandemic benefits contributed to the worker shortage. Friday’s report might offer some evidence one way or the other.
“The report will most likely reflect a mix of constraints in hiring related to Hurricane Ida and the reopening of schools and daycare centers, as well as seasonal adjustments inside the education sector that may dampen the top-line estimate,” RSM Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas said in a note.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the September jobs report at 8:30 am ET on Friday.