In a welcome sign, the U.S. has returned to single digit unemployment rate numbers, falling to 8.4%, down from 10.2% in July. The U.S. economy added 1.4 million jobs in August, indicating the pace of rehiring has eased amid growing fears the nation faces a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to economists surveyed by Dow Jones, nonfarm payrolls were expected to grow by 1.32 million in August and the unemployment rate was expected to fall to 9.8%.
Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the report to show that unemployment dropped to 9.8% and the economy added 1.4 million jobs.
The report marks the first time since March the nation’s jobless rate is below 10%.
The unemployment rate sat at 3.5% in February, a half-century low, before the crisis began.
The total of those on furlough also fell dramatically. There were 24.2 million people who said they not working because their employer either closed or lost business due to the pandemic, down from 31.3 million in July.
The report comes amid a raft of mostly positive economic signals, with retail sales, real estate and manufacturing showing sharp rebounds off their coronavirus lows. Still, economists worry that absent another round of stimulus from Congress, the boosts in activity could be short-lived. August’s job gains mean that more than half of those displaced during the pandemic are back at work.
Here were the main metrics from the Department of Labor’s August jobs report released Friday morning, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:
• Change in non-farm payrolls: +1.371 million vs. +1.350 million expected, vs. +1.734 million in July
• Unemployment rate: 8.4% vs. 9.8% expected, vs. 10.2% in July
• Average hourly earnings, month over month: 0.4% vs. 0.0% expected, +0.1% in July
• Average hourly earnings, year over year: 4.7% vs. 4.4% expected, 4.7% in July
• Labor force participation rate: 61.7% vs. 61.8% expected, 61.4% in July
“These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Labor Department said in its release Friday morning.
MacDailyNews Take: Good news for the U.S. economy is good news for Apple!