Amid the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the latest U.S. jobs report has come in significantly under expectations.
The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added just 235,000 jobs in August. That was down from the 1.1. million jobs that were added in July and under the 720,000 jobs that economists were expecting, CNBC reports. The unemployment rate declined to 5.2 percent, the report said.
"That is what one would call a big, big miss," CNN's Phil Mattingly wrote.
The latest numbers came as the Delta variant of COVID-19 has sparked a surge in coronavirus cases in the United States, and experts had their eye on how this would affect the hiring numbers last month. The Labor Department said that in August, "employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged," whereas it had increased by an average of 350,000 monthly for the last six months. Additionally, there was a loss of 42,000 jobs in food services and drinking.
"Delta is a game-changer," Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk told The New York Times. "It's not that people are laying off workers in reaction to Delta but people are pulling back on travel and tourism and going out to eat and that has consequences."