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A restaurant window. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bars and restaurants went from powering America’s jobs comeback to slowing it down.

Why it matters: The industry is a proxy for how the labor market and economy are faring amid the pandemic.

  • What we learned from Friday’s jobs report: There’s a Delta variant speed bump.

By the numbers: The 42,000 jobs shed at restaurants and bars last month helped offset the gains elsewhere in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The intrigue: For the first time since the Great Reopening revved up, the sector may have a supply problem stemming from more than just worker shortages.

  • Businesses “paused hiring in the face of weaker [customer] demand and uncertainty about the future while workers withdrew due to health concerns,” Bank of America economists wrote Friday.

The backdrop: OpenTable’s restaurant reservations are a near real-time indicator of dining out demand.

  • “We see a pronounced decline in late July and August,” OpenTable CEO Debby Soo told the Los Angeles Times.

What to watch: “[T]he rise of the Delta variant delaying return to office plans and weighing on social activity. Could be a long Fall...,” economist Julia Coronado tweeted in part.

Go deeper

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

20 hours ago - Health

NYC urges masks indoors "at all times" regardless of vaccination status

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

New York City officials issued an advisory Monday "strongly" recommending that people mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status to curb the spread of the newly-discovered Omicron variant.

Why it matters: Dave Chokshi, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, announced the advisory in response to concerns of the new strain's potential implications.

Nov 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Disney's "Encanto." Photo: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.