April 1, 2021

New Job Numbers

A fresh picture of the job market in America shows a better-than-expected unemployment rate but for the wrong reason.

What To Know

September: The Basics

  • U.S. unemployment rate = 7.9% (down from 8.4% in August and better than expected).
  • 661,000 jobs added (fewer than expected) – job gains in leisure & hospitality, retail & healthcare. Job losses in government sector (primarily education) and private education.
  • America has gained back a little more than half the 22 million jobs shed since the pandemic began.
“The jobs number is positive, but it’s flashing warning signs. It’s decelerating fast, and that worries me. If jobs growth is slowing, it’s going to take us longer and longer to recover from this recession.”

Former Treasury Dept. economist Ernie Tedeschi on slow hiring in September. The job market added about half the jobs it did in August, and a little more than a third of the jobs added in July. The start of the school year and dwindling economic stimulus may have played a role in the data.

“Women continue to bear the brunt of this recession.”

Labor economist for Zip Recruiter, Julia Pollak says homeschooling forced some women out of the workforce. Sectors that tend to have more women workers like retail & healthcare have suffered during the pandemic. New data shows women in their “prime” working years leaving the labor force at much higher rates than men, raising questions about the long-term impact on women workers in the U.S. job market.

Why The Drop?

  • The drop in unemployment rate came not *just* from job gains, but folks leaving the workforce.
  • To be counted as part of the labor force, you need to be actively looking for work; a mother who leaves her career to homeschool her kids is not counted as part of the labor force.
  • Permanently-unemployed Americans increased. The labor force shrank, pulling the unemployment rate lower.

This is the final jobs report before election day. Economist Mark Zandi on September’s job numbers: “It’s going to be a slog. The economy risks stalling out without any additional fiscal support.” Big topic to watch this week? If lawmakers come together for another round of economic stimulus.

Here’s the actual JOBS REPORT from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: READ HERE

GOOD OVERVIEW from the Associated Press: CLICK HERE

by Jenna Lee,