August Nonfarm Payrolls Report

  • 1.37 million jobs added in August, 2020
  • Unemployment rate dips to 8.4% from 10.1% in July
  • More temporarily laid-off workers returned to their jobs
  • 13.6 million workers remain unemployed

U.S. employers add 1.37 million jobs in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% from 10.1% as more temporarily laid off workers were rehired back into the workforce, according to the Labor Department . In total, the number of unemployed workers fell by 2.78 million to 13.6 million as the civilian labor force added one million jobs, and government payrolls increased by 344,000 as more census workers were hired during the month.

The August nonfarm payrolls report showed some signs of healing in the U.S. jobs market as gains were made in key areas of the economy:

  • Government: +344,000
  • Retail trade: +244,000
  • Professional and Business services: +197,000
  • Leisure and Hospitality: +174,000
  • Education and Health services: +147,000
  • Transportation and Warehousing: +78,000

The Labor Dept. also reported that 24.2 million people said they were unable to work in August because their employer closed or lost business during the pandemic. That's down from 31.3 million people who reported that in July. Only 11.6% of those people said they were receiving some form of pay from their employer.

Unemployment by Race

Unemployment by race has been very uneven since the pandemic began in March. While there were signs of progress in the August nonfarm payrolls report, joblessness has impacted races very differently in the past six months. Here is the unemployment rate by race as of August, 2020:

  • White: 7.3%, down from 9.2% in July
  • Black; 13.0%, down from 14.6% in July
  • Asian: 10.7%, down from 12.0% in July
  • Latinx: 10.5%, down from 12.9% in July

The gender gap also narrowed. Among adult women, the unemployment rate fell 2.1 percentage points to 8.4%, compared with a 1.4-point drop among men, to 8%.

Temporary and Permanent Job Losses

Among the unemployed, the Labor Dept. reported that the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased by 3.1 million in August to 6.2 million, down from April's extraordinarily high 18.1 million. In August, the number of people experiencing permanent job losses increased by 534,000 to 3.4 million; this measure has risen by 2.1 million since February. The number of unemployed reentrants to the labor force declined by 263,000 to 2.1 million. (Reentrants are persons who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search.) The number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks decreased by 921,000 to 2.3 million in August, and the number of persons jobless 5 to 14 weeks fell by 2.0 million to 3.1 million. The long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) totaled 1.6 million, roughly the same amount from July.