As referenced above, BLS data now shows many industry-average wages exceeding the $15 per hour mark. Additionally, as we approach the September expiration of the unemployment premium benefit that is keeping many from returning to work, further data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a week ago shows there were 10.1 million job openings in the United States as of the last day of June. That many unfilled positions is a record high and confirms that labor shortages are inhibiting the economic recovery. At the same time, BLS statistics indicate there were 8.7 million individuals unemployed nationwide through the end of July. In addition, a survey conducted by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association found that more than 80 percent of state restaurants are inadequately staffed to meet consumer demand. Collectively, the contrast between abundant job openings and these jobless figures indicate a significant mismatch between job openings and where people want to work, a mismatch exacerbated by the unemployment insurance premiums coming to an end next month. And against that data, the Consumer Sentiment Index from the University of Michigan for the first half of August shows that consumer sentiment dropping by the 3rd biggest single month drop on record – 13.5% to a reading of 70.2!