Key Highlights

  • Labor Department released its monthly report
  • Job growth slowed in month of August
  • Unemployment rate fell to 8.4% from 10.2% in July

The Department of Labor’s monthly snapshot of jobs for the month of August had some good news and some bad news.

The good news – unemployment fell to 8.4% from 10.2% in July. The hiring of some 238,000 workers to complete the 2020 census helped to decrease the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate for African Americans fell to 13%; the rate for Hispanics and Latinos was 10.5%, Caucasian unemployment rate fell to 7.3%; and the unemployment rate for Asians was 10.7%. The unemployment rate for women that skyrocketed to 16.2% at its April peak fell to 8.2% in August. Male unemployment fell to 8.3% in August from 13.5% in April.

The bad news – employers added 1.4M jobs in August, down from 1.7M jobs in July and sharply down from the 4.8M jobs added in June. Payrolls are still -11M jobs compared to pre-pandemic. This slowing job growth since June could be an indication of a long recovery from the pandemic recession.

Beth Ann Bovino, chief US economist with S&P Global, said, “We still have a long way to go.”

As of mid-August, more than 29M people were collecting some kind of unemployment benefits either through standard unemployment benefits administered by each state and/or the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program administered by the federal government designed for self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers.

The Labor Department said that job gains occurred in health care, education, manufacturing, factory production and professional services. Though transportation and warehousing added 78,000 jobs, the overall industry continues to stall while major airlines indicate that without additional aid from the federal government, tens of thousands of jobs will be cut next month. Also still struggling are restaurant and retail workers.

Martha Gimbel, an economist and labor market expert with Schmidt Futures, said, I am more concerned about where the economy is now than I was in April. In April, it was fixable. We’re just letting the scars build up now.”



Thanks to The New York Times and National Public Radio.


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