New employment numbers offer no encouragement for economy in near-term

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The latest jobless numbers were out Friday, and with Labor Day weekend approaching, many wonder about the 4th quarter employment market.

On top of the new numbers, less than 10% of rental assistance has been distributed in West Virginia. But believe it or not, that’s fairly typical of the situation across the U.S. — bureaucratic bottlenecks. Meanwhile, employers are desperate to hire.

Michelle McDowell is a career counselor in Martinsburg and says many have been complacent to go back to work. But they need to get moving because the gravy train eventually comes to a stop.

“One of the most important things, when you’re job searching, is your resume and selling yourself in your resume,” McDowell said.

Darron Williams said he is fortunate to be a vendor for the local school system, but the pandemic has taken an economic toll on him personally over the past year.

“I’ve actually utilized rental assistance because COVID’s stricken our business as well, so I’ve personally had to utilize that system,” Williams said.

As far as Williams is concerned, Michelle McDowell can help prospective job seekers all she wants. The Delta variant may have other things in mind this fall and winter.

“My only concern is safety at this point. Just making sure our entities are safe. Everybody is safe. That we get everybody as vaccinated as possible at this point,” Williams said.

For career counselor McDowell, a two-tenths of a percent drop in the jobless numbers as the week closes out isn’t all that encouraging.

“I’m praying it gets better,” says McDowell. “I really am. I just pray that everything gets better so unemployment gets figured out. People get back to work and the economy raises. I mean that’s what we all hope for, I think.”

The latest jobs numbers show that recent gains in the travel and hospitality industry have slowed because of rising COVID fears.

A federal supplemental assistance program ends on Monday. While states are having trouble getting rental assistance to eligible tenants, landlords are facing financial pressures of their own. Adding to the tension is the recent federal court ruling which struck down a national ban on most evictions.

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