PeopleScout U.S. Jobs Report Analysis – September 2020

U.S. employers added 661,000 jobs in September, a slowdown from the previous month. Despite the growth, the jobs numbers still remain far below pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate fell to 7.9%. Year-over-year wage growth was at 4.7%.

U.S. Jobs Report September 2020 infographic

The Numbers

661,000: The U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September.

7.9%: The unemployment rate fell to 7.9%.

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

The Good

September marked the fifth straight month of job growth, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9% from nearly 15% in April. This brings the unemployment rate below the peak of the last recession. The largest gains came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 318,000 jobs, 200,000 of which came from bars and restaurants. MarketWatch also reports that workers are putting in more hours at work, which is good news.

The Bad

The recovery is slowing down. CNBC reports that the 661,000 jobs added to the economy in September fell short of the 800,000 expected in the Dow Jones estimate. This is also the first month of recovery where fewer than 1 million jobs were added. The New York Times reports that if the recovery continues at September’s pace, it will take 17 months to return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of people reporting their layoffs as temporary has decreased, indicating that more layoffs are becoming permanent. This follows several large corporations announcing large numbers of planned layoffs. Though those numbers were not included in the September report, the news indicates that the recovery will continue to slow.

The Unknown

The September report leaves a lot unknown. This will be the last jobs report released before the 2020 U.S. election, where both President Donald Trump and democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden have promised to create millions of jobs. It’s not clear what, if any, impact the report will have on the election. The report was also released on the same morning when millions of Americans woke to learn that President Trump has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Additionally, MarketWatch also reports that economists don’t agree on what will happen next. Some believe that the recovery will continue to slow and slide backward because of the end of federal aid and the start of the cold and flu season. Others believe the recovery will grow stronger as restrictions continue to lift and people find new ways to cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Post by Nicole Fuqua