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The Bunker is a provider of ultra-secure managed IT services to mid-market UK companies. It is a trusted partner for highly secure, compliant and high availability outsourced infrastructure and data storage.

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Hiring at restaurants and hotels surged in October as the Delta wave receded

Nov 5, 2021

Email address By clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Insider as well as other partner offers and accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy . The latest jobs report was particularly good news for the leisure and hospitality sector as the industry made up the largest share of the job gains last month. The US added a robust 531,000 jobs in October, beating economists' estimate of 450,000. That makes October the month with the largest job gain since July. "This is a solid report and shows us the piece of progress that we can see when the case count of [COVID] isn't sort of rising or high," Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed, told Insider. "So I think this is indicative of the underlying momentum of the labor market right now. And if we can stay on a path like this, we're on pace for a strong and quick recovery." After gaining 88,000 jobs in September, leisure and hospitality saw its highest gain since July at 164,000. Bunker said this improvement is a good sign after COVID and the Delta variant "threw a wrench in the late summer acceleration" for leisure and hospitality. With a strong job gain last month, the industry is now 8.2% below employment in February 2020. Within leisure and hospitality, food services and drinking places added 119,000 jobs but is still 6.4% below pre-pandemic employment. But leisure and hospitality wasn't the only industry that experienced job growth in October. Here's what one-month employment changes looked like in October: Grouped together, Bunker said lower-wage industries are still 5.5% below pre-pandemic employment , while higher-wage industries are almost back to where they were before the pandemic. He added lower-wage industries include many occupations that involve close contact with others. "So that suggests that the recovery for those industries that pay lower wages is dependent upon a sort of stronger recovery induced by getting the pandemic behind us," Bunker said. Wage growth could be helping businesses attract workers The latest jobs report showed that average wages also grew last month. Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees increased 0.4% in October and 5.8% from a year earlier. Employers have increased wages as they struggle to find staff to fill positions as people seek out higher-pay jobs and other options. But looking at the bigger picture over the last few months shows bargaining power for workers may not last. Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, tweeted that "slower job growth in the delta-period has been accompanied by slower wage growth in most industries," with wages growing faster between May and July than they have between August and October. "This is yet another sign that the strong wage growth we have seen in some industries this year is not a permanent shift in worker bargaining power, but a temporary result of the (very) unique circumstances of this recovery," Shierholz added . The following chart shows the changes in average hourly earnings for all employees in leisure and hospitality: Average earnings have increased over the pandemic in the industry as employers increase wages as one way to attract workers. Bunker said its unlikely these large wage gains in leisure and hospitality will last. "If a lot of this is driven by the impulse of demand from the reopening of the sector, at a certain point, the sector will be reopened and it will get into more of a steady state," Bunker said. "Openings and hiring will fade, and then that would reduce the relative bargaining power of workers, and then that would pass through into lower wage gains." Bunker said there's still "people on the sidelines who would likely be looking for a job if it weren't for the pandemic." As industries continue to add more payrolls and recover from the pandemic, Bunker said there's "cause for cautious optimism" if there aren't new variants or a surge in cases that the economy "can get on a good footing and a solid path and head towards recovery." Sign up for notifications from Insider! Stay up to date with what you want to know. Subscribe to push notifications

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