Fewer U.S. workers sidelined by Delta variant in September even as cases peaked, survey shows

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October 8 (Businesshala) – The number of US workers unable to work at some point in the past four weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic fell in September, as Delta reported more of those not looking for jobs because of health concerns . A Labor Department poll showed Friday that the type of coronavirus reached its summer peak.

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According to the survey, nearly 5.03 million people were unable to work in September or reported reduced hours due to a complete shutdown of their business or a cut in operations, up from about 5.65 million in the previous month. The figure for August had increased for the first time since last December.

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But the percentage of people who said they did not seek work because of COVID-19 fears also rose slightly to 1.63 million from 1.52 million in the previous month, highlighting the uneven nature of jobs recovery.

The figures are drawn from an ongoing additional survey of households conducted by the US government with monthly jobs reports since the start of the pandemic. Overall, US job growth grew much less than expected in September amid a drop in government pay, the main report showed, a second straight month of disappointing gains.

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“Survey week is early September and that’s where we were still having some major concerns with the Delta version,” said Sean Cruz, senior market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Economists still widely expect US jobs to pick up again in the coming months. They cite a drop in the COVID-19 case count, lower childcare barriers with the return of in-person schooling, and the recent cessation of federal government-funded pandemic unemployment benefits.

The benefits, which affected more than 6 million people, offered unemployment payments to people who didn’t qualify for regular state jobless benefits, but were blamed by firms and Republicans for labor shortages.

People who said they had teleworked recently because of the pandemic were largely unchanged last month, falling from 20.56 million to 20.35 million. (Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Paul Simao)

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