September jobs report shows slower growth than previous months; US recovers 661,000 jobs

“The issue is momentum, and I think we’re losing it,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist for MetLife. “When you go through a significant disruption to the labor market, it takes time to fix itself. That’s without regard to whether there’s a virus.”

  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 661,000 in September, lower than the 800,000 Dow Jones estimate.
  • The unemployment rate was 7.9%, better than the 8.2% estimate.
  • This is the final jobs report before the November election.


Unemployment in September dipped to 7.9%, from 8.4% in August. The drop in unemployment was primarily driven by discouraged employees leaving the workforce. Unemployment among Latinos (10.3%) and African Americans (12.1%) showed little improvement during the month, while the jobless rate for Asian Americans dropped to 8.9%.

And a new wave of layoffs is looming, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on sectors such as airlines, theme parks and other businesses.

None of those cuts are reflected in the September jobs report, which is based on surveys conducted about three weeks ago.

More than 1.4 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week — a number that was little changed from the week before. The Labor Department says more than 26 million people were collecting some form of unemployment benefit as of mid-September.


The pandemic has ravaged America’s previously strong job market and more than 22 million jobs vanished in the spring lockdown. If President Donald Trump loses the election, he could become the first President on record — going back to President Harry Truman — to leave the White House with fewer jobs than when he started.

Comparing presidents’ jobs records in their first 44 months in office over the same time period, Trump comes last.

Between January 2017 and September, 3.9 million jobs were lost.


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