- Unemployment dropped to 7.9%
- 661,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls
- A survey found 31% of those who got a new job said they are earning less
The Labor Department reported Friday the September unemployment rate dipped to 7.9% as a wave of layoffs in the airline and other industries were poised to hit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 661,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls, about 200,000 less than what economists were expecting.
The announcement comes against the backdrop of coronavirus stimulus talks between Democrats and the White House and tens of thousands of layoffs in the airline industry, tourist, insurance, banking and other industries.
The report attributed the dip in the jobless rate to “resumption of economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it.” Leisure and hospitality, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and professional and business services led the way.
“September payroll gains were on the disappointing side, below expectations and well below the pace seen in previous months. The decline in the jobless rate is tainted somewhat by the drop in the labor force participation rate,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said in an email to International Business Times.
Labor force participation was down 0.3 points to 61.4% while the employment-to-population ratio was 56.6%, off 4.5 points from February.
Labor estimated 7.2 million people had dropped out of the labor force, 2.3 million more than before the pandemic hit. People who wanted a job in September but who were unable to find one numbered 1.9 million while the number of discouraged workers who thought no job was available for them numbered 581,000.
The pandemic was in its 28th week. The number of long-term unemployed, those who have been without jobs for more than 26 weeks, increased 781,000