U.S. August jobs report badly undershot with 235,000-payroll gain revealed as recent Delta Covid spike spooked employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. businesses created roughly a third of the jobs expected in August as Covid cases rebounded and governments reinstated some economic restrictions.

The world’s largest economy added just 235,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, while the consensus forecast expected August job growth to reach 733,000 payrolls. The reading reflects a sharp slowdown in hiring from the month prior and the weakest month of job creation since January. Furthermore, the July count was revised to 1.1 million from 943,000 added payrolls.

What is interesting is that the job participation rate in the U.S. stands at around 61%, i.e. close to a historic minimum. Why does no-one raise a simple question about what the rest 39% are doing and how they are doing? Mining cryptocurrencies while enjoying themselves in the comfort of their homes! Well, the answer is not that straightforward, of course, although the following story about how British students sometimes earn their living is quite illustrative.

The problem is that reasons to seek regular waged or salaried jobs are vanishing as inflation uncertainties coupled with elevated health risk concerns make job seekers more and more reluctant to be as active in their job hunting efforts as they were before Covid. Those who deny the existence of this growing problem are simply trying to deny a new reality. Jobs are supposed to address a person’s basic financial burdens – buying food and gasoline, paying bills and medical expenses – this is the minimum set every job seeker expects from landing a job. If these basic things don’t come with a new job by definition, then, obviously, the question arises if I’d be better off buying staples and paying bills on my own, without a binding obligation to sell my time for money.

The fact that, according to the latest reading, the U.S. consumer prices rose 5.4% in July from a year earlier, marching the largest jump since August 2008, tells that inflation of things is on track to outpace salaries and wages for quite a while, no matter what they say. This is why all sorts of passive income become more and more important for Average Joe than his job used to be. This is true for all sorts of inflation resistant investments (think of a boom of toilet paper shoppings last year), to be fair.

So, on one hand we see a shortage of workforce willing to commit their time in exchange for what they think is depreciating fiat money. But on the other hand, we see an apparently elevated inflation, something more recognizable in the periods of economic and hiring boom. Isn’t it weird?

In political discourse, inflation is often presented as a technical issue independent of politics. It is assumed that if a government spends too much money, the logic goes, there likely won’t be enough goods to consume and their prices are bound to increase. This is actually happening now. Since prices are no longer stable, workers are already demanding higher wage increases, but those labor costs will be passed onto consumers in the form of prices, and a vicious spiral similar to the last major inflation crisis from the late 1960s to early 80s (a “wage-price spiral”) becomes a reality. Usually, in these periods gold and other precious metals dramatically appreciate.

When economists explain why gold doesn’t perform in a more convincing manner as an anti-inflationary remedy, many usually outline that gold doesn’t pay dividends. But if some cryptos do pay dividends, does this fact mean that only the dividend-paying coins are worth looking at? Of course, not! The upward price pressure is so palpable that anything material with limited supply – be it with or without dividends – looks appealing enough by itself!

Interestingly, according to The National Student Money Survey 2021 that polled 2,038 university students in the UK between May and August 2021, a rising number of British students are investing in cryptocurrencies to finance their living costs. Since last year, the share of students who make money from crypto has tripled from 2% to 6%.

The obtained results indicate that 76% of the surveyed UK students worry about making ends meet, an increase from 71% in last year’s survey. On average, students face monthly living costs of £810 (approximately $1,120), forcing many of them to seek supplemental income through passive investments, gigs or small businesses.

Among the polled students, 40% said they had made money from their own business or side hustle, down from 43% who had given the same reply last year.

In the same vein, according to a survey conducted by the Association of Forex Dealers (AFD) and Otkritie Bank in August, almost 77% of Russian investors considered buying cryptocurrencies more promising than investing in “conventional national currencies” and even gold. The study on investor attitudes towards digital currencies involved 502 respondents, 17% of whom admitted making transactions with digital currencies at least once a month, 25% – less than once, 35% – more often than once a month. The vast majority of such investors are going to purchase digital currencies and blockchain products in the near future. More than half of the study participants also cited a goal to increase savings as the reason for investing in digital currencies.

According to the survey, major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin were referred to as being more attractive to invest in than national currencies or gold. 40% of respondents believe that governmental interference in printing and circulation of digital currencies would be minimal, while almost 35% voted in favor of market regulation and 16% were confident that digital currencies should not be subject to any regulation at all.

The majority of investors (61%) strongly disagree with the recommendations of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation to allow exchanges to decide whether to admit instruments linked to cryptocurrencies for trading. 76.5% of respondents believe that in the next five years, the share of digital currencies in the global circulation will increase significantly. According to the survey, some 63% of Russians are positive about buying and holding cryptocurrencies.