U.S. Employers Added 661,000 Jobs in September

Hiring was slower than forecast despite unemployment rate falling to 7.9%

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. employers added 661,000 jobs in September
  • Unemployment rate falls to 7.9%
  • Jobs news overtaken by Trump's positive COVID-19 test
  • Unemployment by race still uneven

U.S. employers added 661,000 jobs in September, far fewer than forecast, as companies slowed their pace of hiring amid growing uncertainty about a resurgence in the virus and the economic recovery. The unemployment rate fell to 7.9% from 8.4%, as fewer people filed for claims. Around 51% of the jobs lost since March have been added back, but there are still at least 12.6 million people officially unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

U.S. Unemployment Rate

The economy has now recovered 9.4 million of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April at the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Labor Department. Job growth, though, is cooling.

Today's report is the last before the November election, and the results were largely drowned out by the news that President Trump, the First Lady, and members of the president's staff tested positive for COVID-19. That, the uncertainty around the election itself, a resurgence in the virus, and doubts about the health of the economic recovery, put pressure on U.S. equities, which are falling for the first day in four.

Gains By Sector

The job gains in September came from the hardest hit sectors amid the pandemic, including Leisure & Hospitality and Retail Trade:

  • Leisure & Hospitality: +318,000
  • Retail Trade: +142,000
  • Health Care & Social Assistance: +108,000
  • Professional Service: +89,000
  • Transportation & Warehousing: +74,000
  • Manufacturing: +66,000

Unemployment by Race

The recovery in the labor market continues to be uneven by race, with Black and Hispanic unemployment still significantly higher than for White and Asian workers.

  • White: 7%
  • Black: 12.1%
  • Hispanic: 10.3%
  • Asian: 8.9%

Uptick in Long-Term Unemployment

Despite the continued increase in the rehiring of workers that were temporarily laid off, those out of work for 27 weeks or more continued to increase. There are 2.4 million unemployed workers classified as long-term unemployed. 19.4 million people reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business amid the pandemic.

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