USA Unemployment Rate Fell to 7.9% in September

October 5, 2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment climbed 661,000 in September, as the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). The improved performance was due to the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. BLS mentioned that in September, “notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services. Employment in government declined over the month, mainly in state and local government education.”

Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 318,000 in September 2020, accounting for two-thirds of the total nonfarm employment gain. While in the retail trade, employment rose by 142,000. Employment in health care and social assistance rose by 108,000 in September. Notably, employment in professional and business services climbed by 89,000 jobs in September. Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 74,000. Whereas, employment in manufacturing added 66,000 jobs, other services went up by 36,000 jobs, financial activities increased by 37,000 jobs, information rose 27,000 jobs while construction employment rose by 26,000 jobs in September. Employment also increased in wholesale trade by 19,000 jobs. Employment in government and private education declined by 216,000 and 69,000 jobs, respectively. Whereas, employment in mining was little changed by an increase of 1,000 jobs.

Notably, BLS stated, “the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased by 1.5 million in September to 4.6 million.” In September, the number of permanent job losers increased by 345,000 to 3.8 million. The number of unemployed job leavers climbed by 212,000 to 801,000 in September. “(Job leavers are persons who quit or voluntarily left their previous job and immediately began looking for new employment.)”

In September, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless for 5 to 14 weeks declined by 402,000 to 2.7 million. While, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose by 781,000 to 2.4 million. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks climbed by 271,000 in September to 2.6 million.

The labour force participation rate for September fell 0.3 percentage points to 61.4%, while the employment population ratio stood at 56.6%. Nonetheless, persons employed part-time for economic reasons decreased by 1.3 million to 6.3 million in September. Based on BLS assessment, this was reflected by “a decrease in the number of people who worked part time due to slack work or business conditions.” In September, involuntary part-time workers, who would have preferred full-time employment, stood at 2.0 million, and the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job, stood at 7.2 million.

In September, a total of 1.9 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 581,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in September, relatively unchanged over the month. These persons are not currently seeking work as they believe no jobs are available for them.

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