Govern­ment ex­pected to report hir­ing slow­down

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION | WORLD | BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON — Ev­i­dence of the dam­age the resur­gent vi­ral out­break has caused the U.S. econ­omy could come Fri­day when the govern­ment is ex­pected to report the pace of hir­ing has slowed after a brief re­bound in the spring.

As the pan­demic trans­forms a vast swath of the econ­omy, it’s be­com­ing ev­i­dent that mil­lions of Amer­i­cans face the prospect of a per­ma­nent job loss that will force some to seek work with new in­dus­tries or in new oc­cu­pa­tions. If so, that would lead to a slower re­cov­ery.

On Fri­day, econ­o­mists ex­pect the govern­ment to report that em­ploy­ers added 1.6 mil­lion jobs in July, ac­cord­ing to data provider Fact­Set, and that the un­em­ploy­ment rate de­clined from 11.1% to a still-high 10.5%. July’s ex­pected gain would fall way short of June’s 4.8 mil­lion in­crease and would sig­nal that hir­ing has sharply slowed. It would also mean that the econ­omy has re­gained barely 40% of the jobs that fell to the coro­n­avirus.

The pan­demic will likely have pro­found con­se­quences for the econ­omy. Re­tail stores will prob­a­bly never re­gain their pre-pan­demic lev­els of sales or em­ploy­ment as con­sumers turn to in­ter­net pur­chases. On­line health care will likely elim­i­nate some doc­tors’ of­fice jobs. And video­con­fer­enc­ing will re­place some por­tion of busi­ness travel. Those changes alone could destroy mil­lions of jobs.

Michelle Holder, a la­bor econ­o­mist at John Jay Col­lege, said it’s un­likely that many work­ers will find work un­til a vac­cine is widely avail­able.

“It’s def­i­nitely going to be a drag on the econ­omy,” she said. GOP sen­a­tors sup­port more money for air­lines

Air­line stocks rose Wed­nes­day as a group of 16 Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, nine of whom are up for re­elec­tion, has en­dorsed giv­ing more money to air­lines to avoid lay­offs right be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tion. Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky made no pro­vi­sion for air­line work­ers in his $1 tril­lion pro­posal for ad­di­tional virus re­lief.

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