US Labour Market Shows Signs of Rebound as Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.4% in August

South of the border, it appears that the US labour market has been the subject of steady recovery. According to the latest data released by the Department of Labour (DOL), the unemployment rate declined from 10.2% to 8.4% in August, as the fourth consecutive month continues to see improvement. However, a large portion of the sudden job gains are related to temporary hiring for the 2020 Census, suggesting that there is still a relatively long road ahead for America’s labour market.

Despite a continued increased in infection rates, especially across the sunbelt states, coupled with extended government standoffs regarding stimulus aid for unemployed Americans, non-farm payrolls rose by 1.37 million, causing the unemployment rate to drop by nearly 2 percentage points to 8.4%. Bloomberg economists had previously predicted August job gains to amount to 1.35 million, corresponding to an unemployment rate of 9.8%; thus, the data suggests that a recovery for the US economy may be closer on the horizon than previously thought.

Despite August’s positive gains in the labour market, nonfarm payrolls still remain approximately 11.5 million below pre-pandemic levels, with any further improvements reliant on whether or not the US can gain further control of the soaring coronavirus infection rates. However, one startling statistic is evident in the latest DOL data report: the number of permanent job losses increased by nearly half to 3.41 million, after a relatively stagnant July.

In further detail, payroll figures point to broad-based gains across many industries. The retail sector added approximately 249,000 positions, followed by the professional business service sector which increased by 197,000 more jobs. Transportation and warehousing was also the subject of job gains, with the addition of 78,000 more employment opportunities. However, most notable, and probably the biggest outlier in the nonfarm payrolls, was the addition of 238,000 temporary Census workers. However, despite how “skewed” the numbers are now, it was certainly enough for the US President to boast about.

Information for this briefing was found via the DOL. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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