In September, employers in the U.S. added just 194,000 jobs, marking a second straight month of less-than-stellar gains.
The report released by the Department of Labor on Friday provided more evidence that COVID-19 and the more contagious delta variant continue to hold a grip on the U.S. economy.
Friday's report noted that the unemployment rate fell 0.4% in September to 4.8%.
According to The New York Times, Friday's report showed that the leisure and hospitality sector added fewer than 100,000 jobs for the second straight month. That industry had been a significant driver of economic growth in the summer months, prior to the rise of the delta variant.
In August, the U.S. added a disappointing 235,000 jobs. That broke a two-month streak of higher-than-expected job growth.
The most striking number in September was the number of women who left the workforce. The Washington Post reports 309,000 women over age 20 dropped out of the labor force, meaning they either quit or stopped their job search, compared to 182,000 men who joined the labor force in the same month. The Post reports that this is on the backs of unreliable child care and school situations amid the rise in COVID cases.
The White House hopes that an increase in vaccinations prompted by employer mandates will slow the spread of COVID-19 in the coming months. President Joe Biden called for an increase in vaccine mandates in September in laying out a six-pronged effort to fight the virus in the fall months.
In delivering remarks on the report Friday, Biden touted the fact that the unemployment rate had dipped below 5% for the first time in over a year. He said the fact that the unemployment rate continues to fall shows his plan is working.
"We're actually making good process," Biden said, noting, though, that results have not been coming as "fast" or "dramatic" as he would have liked.