Labor & Workforce

US jobless rate dips below 10 pct for 1st time since March

Washington, Sep 4 (efe-epa).- The headline unemployment rate in the United States declined from 10.2 percent to 8.4 percent last month as the world’s largest economy added 1.76 million jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said Friday.

“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 BLS said in its monthly report for August.

“Great Jobs Numbers!,” President Donald Trump said on Twitter after the figures were released. “Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.4% (Wow, much better than expected!). Broke the 10% level faster and deeper than thought possible.”

The Labor Department’s broader U6 measure of unemployment, which includes people working part-time who would prefer full-time and workers who have given up looking for a job, fell from 16.8 percent in July to 14.3 percent last month.

Labor force participation, which peaked at 67.1 percent in 2000, advanced 0.3 percent in August to 61.1 percent, down 1.7 percentage points from the level in February, before the Covid-19 pandemic began to have a significant impact on the US economy.

“Government employment rose in August, largely reflecting temporary hiring for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services,” the BLS said.

There are 11.5 million fewer jobs in the US now than in February, including 720,000 fewer jobs in manufacturing, according to the report.

After reaching a 50-year low of 3.5 percent in February, unemployment soared to 14.4 percent in April and remained in double digits for May, June and July.

New claims for unemployment benefits totaled 881,000 last week, down from around 1 million the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Jobless claims peaked at 6.8 million in the final week of March.

In mid-August, roughly 29 million people nationwide were receiving state or federal unemployment benefits.

But the 17 million self-employed people and gig workers ineligible for regular jobless benefits who were getting $600 a week as part of the pandemic relief plan launched in March stopped getting those payments at the end of July. EFE

jab/dr

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