Unemployment rate falls to 8.4%—with over 10 million jobs added since April’s jobless peak
Our mission to help you navigate the new normal is fueled by subscribers. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.
The unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% in July to 8.4% in August—marking four consecutive months of a declining jobless rate after peaking at an 80-year high of 14.7% in April.
That 8.4% jobless rate beat the estimate of 9.8% by Goldman Sachs.
Since April, the U.S. economy has added 10.7 million jobs, including 1.4 million jobs added in August.
While the economy continues to rebound, the rate of that recovery is slowing. In June the U.S. added 4.8 million jobs, followed by 1.8 million in July.
Much of the hiring during the summer has been driven by states reopening businesses, like dental offices and clothing stores. But with the pandemic still raging across the country, many businesses that attract large crowds—such as bars and sporting venues—remain closed, which is holding back the recovery.
And there are more headwinds looming. Those include layoffs from local and state governments, which are facing huge budget shortfalls. New York City has plans to lay off 22,000 city workers.
And unemployed Americans, who lost their $600 enhanced unemployment benefits in July, could see their $300 enhanced unemployment benefits phase out as early as this week if not replaced by Congress. That cut could drag down consumer spending—which accounts for two-thirds of the economy and is already slowing.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report also finds the total number of unemployed Americans stood at 13.6 million in August, much improved from the 23.1 million unemployed in April. But that still amounts to mass joblessness when compared to the 5.8 million Americans who were out of work in February.
And even as economic data improves, most Americans don’t feel optimistic. Only 27% of U.S. adults say the economy as improving, while 57% say the economy is still getting worse. That’s the finding from a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll of 2,478 U.S. adults on Aug. 17 and 18.