September 2020 Jobs Report Shows 661,000 Jobs Added in COVID-19 Recovery

Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The United States economy added 661,000 jobs while the unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 7.9 percent in September 2020, improvements reflecting the resumption of economic activity curtailed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobs report revealed the number of unemployed people fell by 1.0 million to 12.6 million in September 2020. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, health care and social assistance, and professional and business services. Employment declined mainly in state and local government education.

  • Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 318,000 jobs in September 2020. Despite job growth totaling 3.8 million jobs over the last five months, employment in food services and drinking places is down by 2.3 million jobs since February 2020.
  • Retail trade employment added 142,000 jobs in September 2020. Employment in retail trade is 483,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Health care and social assistance employment rose by 108,000 jobs in September 2020 but is down by 1 million jobs since February.
  • Professional and business services employment added 89,000 jobs in September 2020. Despite gains of 910,000 jobs since April 2020, employment in professional and business services is 1.4 million jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment rose by 74,000 jobs in September 2020. Although the industry has added 291,000 jobs since May 2020, employment in transportation and warehousing is 304,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Manufacturing employment rose by 66,000 jobs in September 2020. Despite gains over the past five months, employment in manufacturing is 647,000 jobs below the level in February 2020.
  • Financial activities employment added 37,000 jobs in September 2020. Employment in financial activities is 162,000 jobs below the level in February 2020.
  • Other services industry employment added 36,000 jobs in September 2020. Employment in other services is 495,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Information employment grew by 27,000 jobs in September 2020 but is down by 276,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Construction employment increased by 26,000 jobs in September 2020 but is below its February 2020 level by 394,000 jobs.
  • Wholesale trade employment increased by 19,000 jobs in September 2020. Employment in wholesale trade is 312,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Mining employment added 1,000 jobs in September 2020. Employment in the industry is down by 133,000 jobs since a recent peak in January 2019.
  • Private education employment decreased by 69,000 jobs in September 2020. Employment in the industry is down by 355,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Government employment declined by 216,000 jobs in September 2020.

The jobs report showed the change in employment for July 2020 was revised from 1,734,000 jobs added to 1,761,000 jobs added while August 2020 was revised from 1,371,000 jobs added to 1,489,000 jobs added. With these revisions, gains in July 2020 and August 2020 combined were 145,000 jobs more than previously reported.

Since March 2020, jobs report survey interviewers were instructed to classify employed persons absent from work due to temporary coronavirus-related business closures or cutbacks as unemployed. BLS and Census Bureau analyses of data suggest this group still may include workers who should have been classified as unemployed.

“For March through August, BLS published an estimate of what the unemployment rate would have been had misclassified workers been included. Repeating this same approach, the overall September unemployment rate would have been about 0.4 percentage point higher than reported,” the jobs report explained.

The jobs report is usually released on the first Friday of every month at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. The jobs report for October 2020 will be released on Friday, November 6, 2020. More information about the September 2020 jobs report is at www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-september-2020.htm.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of October 2, 2020, there are more than 34.3 million global cases and 1 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 7.2 million cases and 207,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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