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Number of worker shifts falls in August as delta variant weighs on small businesses

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Fewer small businesses were open and hourly employees working in August from July, indicating that the Covid-19 delta variant may be dampening the U.S. economic recovery, according to data from Homebase, which supplies employee scheduling software to employers.

The number of employees working dropped 4% in mid-August versus mid-July, according to Homebase, which analyzed trends among roughly 60,000 businesses and 1 million hourly employees. The share of businesses with their doors open also fell 2.5% over that period.

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The monthly shifts are noteworthy since the economic metrics have generally been on an upward trajectory since April, according to John Waldmann, the company’s founder and CEO.

“The leading indicators here of Main Street health and hourly employment are showing a real change from the trends earlier in the summer, and what seems to be a very clear impact of the delta variant on the economy,” he said.

Delta variant

Virus-related deaths also nearly quadrupled over that period, to almost 1,000 a day, on average, from 226, according to the CDC.

About 63% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. That’s true for about 52% of the total population, including kids.

Consumer confidence

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