The state of hiring received a boost Wednesday when a payroll report showed that 568,000 positions were created in September. 

The report by private payroll processing firm ADP said the number beat expectations. The 568,000 new positions outpaced the 425,000 projected by Dow Jones and it also beat the downwardly revised number for August, which was closer to 340,000. 

Growth in the hospitality sector drove most of the gains with 226,000 new hires. The sector was battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and there was concern that the spread of the Delta variant would limit hiring through the economic reopening. President Joe Biden blamed the Delta variant as the culprit for a poorer-than-expected jobs result in August.

Large enterprises were responsible for most of the leisure sector’s new hires. Companies with 500 or more employees led job creation with 390,000 new hires while smaller businesses with fewer than 50 workers accounted for 63,000 new jobs. Medium-sized enterprises contributed the remaining 115,000 to the final tally.

Hiring in the hospitality sector has a tendency to taper off with the end of summer when demand for these services is usually much higher. For all its growth, the sector is still dealing with a shortage of 2 million workers and the unemployment rate is 9.1%, ahead of the 5.2% national average. 

Labor shortages have been an enduring problem in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacted areas like the hospitality sector. However, the new payroll report shows that employers may be adapting around the Delta variant as consumers continue seeking out services and demand continues to remain strong. 

In previous surveys, executives at large employers did not label the Delta variant one of their prime concerns in hiring. Instead, they expressed more concern about the increased difficulty of hiring new employees because of a greater sense of bargaining power in a job market replete with unfilled positions.