The U.S. economy added 194,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percent to 4.8 percent, Labor Department reported Friday.
The September numbers are even worse than the disastrous report from August, showing only 235,000 jobs created.
The sluggish pace of jobs created surprised experts again, as they predicted about 500,000 jobs created, but the economy fell short again.
The jobs numbers were expected to rise significantly in September, as expanded unemployment checks from the federal government expired.
But the report shows that Americans continue to sit on the sidelines as the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread.
The labor force participation rate ticked down to 61.7 percent from the 61.8 rate in August, but largely within the average since the pandemic hit.
The numbers show that the economy has not yet gotten back to normal, as some industries performed worse than in August.
Leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 74,000, but did not change substantially in bars and restaurants.
Manufacturing only added 26,000 jobs, down from August’s gain of 37,000 jobs.
Jobs in mining gained 5,000, fewer than August’s 6,000 number.
Employment in local government public education declined by 144,000, an unexpected number as September is the month that education hiring spikes as children return to school.
Health care employment also fell, as nursing and residential care facilities fell by 38,000 and hospital jobs fell by 8,000.