The shutdown is over but it’s effects could be hurting Americans for months. During the 16-day shutdown we heard how it affected government workers and people who use government services. But today we also learned how the shut down is still affecting all Americans, especially those who are or were hiring and those looking for jobs.
Tuesday morning the White House released unemployment numbers (the stats were actually delayed two and a half weeks because of the shutdown).
Only 148,000 jobs were added last month. Economists expected it would be closer to 180,000. It’s a steep drop from the number of jobs that were added in August. Experts say employers anticipated the shut down and slowed hiring processes last month.
“The shenanigans in Congress have hurt confidence and increased uncertainties, most likely hurting both consumer and business spending as well as hiring,” California State University economist Sung Won Sohn told the Associated Press.
It’s wasn’t just employers that were skeptical, apparently morale for those seeking work was also affected because the number of people actually looking for work also dropped.
Economists say the temporary layoffs during the shutdown will probably continue to lower the numbers for this month and possibly next month and that we will not see a clearer picture of the job market until December.
As of today the unemployment rate is 7.3%, which is actually higher than in August. It’s a positive number when all else looks dim. Economists say they expect the number of jobs added will continue to grow each month only slower than they had been in recent months, thanks to the government shutdown.
Unfortunately one of the strongest areas of job creation in recent years (as Americans were getting over the downturn of 2008), leisure and hospitality, lost more than 7,000 jobs in September.
All is not lost however; a bulk of the jobs gained came from professional and businesses services with 32,000 more jobs. Transportation and warehousing gained close to 25,000 jobs and government (ironically) 20,000.
The underwhelming numbers that were released may hopefully light some fire in members of Congress as they continue talks on the budget for the current fiscal year. They have looming deadlines ahead. It’s too close for comfort for retailers as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year. The National Retail Federation says they are “cautiously optimistic”. They say retailers’ seasonal hiring will depend on how well lawmakers work together. If they can’t agree they expect us, consumers, will lose confidence and keep our money in our wallets.
It’s all one big domino effect that will affect most of us. Let’s hope lawmakers remember that because I think most Americans certainly will when election time comes.