PeopleScout U.S. Jobs Report Analysis – August 2020

U.S. employers added 1.4 million jobs in August, a slowdown from the previous month. Despite the growth, the jobs numbers still remain far below pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%. Year-over-year wage growth was at 4.7%.

u.s. jobs report

The Numbers

1.4 million: The U.S. economy added 1.4 million jobs in August.

8.4%: The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%.

4.7%: Wages rose 4.7% over the past year.

The Good

August marked the fourth straight month of job growth, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% from nearly 15% in April. This brings the unemployment rate below the peak of the last recession. The New York Times reports that women have made the strongest recovery; however, women took the heaviest hit earlier in the year. The labor participation rate rose to 61.7%, up from last month’s 61.4%, but still below February’s 63.4%.

The Bad

While the continued recovery is good news, it is slowing down. The survey was also taken early in the month of August, before economists say they saw worrying signs in the economy and only shortly after enhanced economic benefits expired. NBC reports that job postings have dropped by 9%, and several large companies have announced additional layoffs or furloughs.

The Unknown

As the recovery slows down, economists are concerned about what is next. The Wall Street Journal reports that the additional waves of layoffs announced by some large employers in August demonstrate that some companies had prepared for only a short-term shut down. Now, as the pandemic continues, leaders need to make additional adjustments.

There is also still uncertainty over a second coronavirus relief bill. More than one month after many elements of the previous bill expired, Congress has yet to agree on how much and what types of aid should be provided.

Post by Nicole Fuqua