By Isaac Cohen*
The figures on job creation in October indicated that the US economy regained strength by the end of the summer, after the slowdown caused by the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Last week, the Labor Department informed 531,000 new jobs were created in October, better than the revised figures for August and September, while the unemployment rate decreased to 4.6 percent, from 4.8 percent in September.
The October employment figures were released two days after the central bank announced its decision to cut back purchasing assets, at a monthly pace of $15 billion, recognizing that “inflation is elevated, largely reflecting factors that are expected to be transitory.” https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary 20211103a.htm
Looking ahead, a better performance is expected in the last quarter, as indicated by increased hiring by retailers in anticipation of better than last year sales. For instance, for this holiday season Amazon and Walmart are each hiring 150,000 additional workers. The National Retail Federation anticipates record holiday sales, forecasting an increase this year of between 8.5-10.5 percent, while retailers are expected to hire between 500,000 to 665,000 seasonal workers, better than 486,000 seasonal hires in 2020. However, wages thus far have increased at around 4 percent since last year, still under the yearly increase of 5.4 percent in consumer prices.
*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media.