On October 2nd, 2020 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that September Non-Farm Payroll Employment rose by 661,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate fell by 0.5% to 7.9% (see full release here).
The unemployment rate dropped below the key 8% level although job gains were below estimates forecasted by Marketwatch at 810,000. September represents the fifth consecutive month of gains since the massive COVID-19 & shutdown related layoffs in March and April.
BLS reported that leisure & hospitality added 318,000 jobs and despite gains of 3.8 million over the past five months remains 2.3 million below February’s peak level. This illustrates the considerable challenges that industry still faces. Retail trade added 142,000 new jobs in September.
Revisions to July & August netted an increase of 145,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings for all employees was little changed at $29.47 and the average workweek increased by 0.1 hours.
BLS also reported that despite solid gains in each of the past five months, total employment is still 10.7 million below the February peak. Overall, employment numbers continue to improve as the economy heals from COVID-19 related shutdowns.
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