Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The United States economy added 1.4 million jobs while the unemployment rate declined to 8.4 percent in August 2020, improvements reflecting the resumption of economic activity curtailed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it, according to the jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The jobs report revealed the number of unemployed people fell by 2.8 million to reach 13.6 million in August 2020, while employment rose the most in government, retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services. Here is a breakdown of job gains by sector in August 2020:
- Government employment increased by 344,000 jobs in August 2020 but is 831,000 million jobs below its February 2020 level.
- Retail trade employment added 249,000 jobs in August 2020. Employment in the industry is 655,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
- Professional and business services employment added 197,000 jobs in August 2020 but employment is 1.5 million jobs below its February 2020 level.
- Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 174,000 jobs in August 2020. Despite these gains, employment in food services and drinking places is down by 2.6 million jobs since February 2020.
- Education and health services employment increased by 147,000 jobs in August 2020 but is 1.5 million jobs below its February 2020 level.
- Transportation and warehousing employment rose by 78,000 jobs in August 2020 but is down by 381,000 jobs since February 2020.
- Other services industry employment added 74,000 jobs in August 2020. Since February 2020, employment in the other services industry is down by 531,000 jobs.
- Financial activities employment added 36,000 jobs in August 2020. Employment in financial activities is down by 191,000 jobs since February 2020.
- Manufacturing employment rose by 29,000 jobs in August 2020 but is down by 720,000 jobs since February 2020.
- Wholesale trade employment increased by 14,000 jobs in August 2020 but has declined by 328,000 jobs since February 2020.
- Mining, construction, and information employment changed little in August 2020.
The jobs report showed the change in employment for June 2020 was revised from 4,791,000 jobs added to 4,781,000 jobs added while July 2020 was revised from 1,763,000 jobs added to 1,734,000 jobs added. With these revisions, gains in June 2020 and July 2020 combined were 39,000 jobs less 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 July, BLS published an estimate of what the unemployment rate would have been had misclassified workers been included. Repeating this same approach, the overall August unemployment rate would have been about 0.7 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 September 2020 will be released on Friday, October 2, 2020. More information about the August 2020 jobs report is at www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-august-2020.htm.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of September 4, 2020, there are more than 26.3 million global cases and 869,000 global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 6.1 million cases and 186,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.
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