Unemployment falls to 8.4%, lowest since pandemic hit

by Joel Abbott · Sep 4th, 2020 1:18 pm

Last Updated Sep 5th, 2020 at 11:58 am

In August, nonfarm payrolls increased by 1.37 million and unemployment fell for the fourth month in a row to 8.4%, demonstrating continued economic recovery after losses incurred due to COVID-19 and government-mandated lockdowns.

The details were released Friday in a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"In August, the unemployment rate declined by 1.8 percentage points to 8.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 2.8 million to 13.6 million," the report reads. "Both measures have declined for four consecutive months but are higher than in February, by 4.9 percentage points and 7.8 million, respectively."

The report also provided specific demographic data showing signs of economic recovery:

  • 24.2 million people reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic (down from 31.3 million in July).
  • The number of people who usually work full time rose 2.8 million to 122.4 million, and the number who usually work part time rose 991,000 to 25 million.
  • The top three private sectors to add jobs were retail (249,000 jobs), professional and business services (197,000), and leisure and hospitality (174,000).
  • The number of people under temporary layoffs decreased by 3.1 million to 6.2 million total (down from 18.1 million in April).
  • Unemployment fell for both men and women and among all racial groups except Asians.
  • 24.3% of employees worked remotely in August (down 2.1% from July).

In a CNBC interview Friday morning, Vice President Mike Pence said the report is a "great day in America and real evidence that the American comeback is underway."


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