The US economy added 194,000 jobs in September, slower than July and August, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While job growth was slower, the overall unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 4.8% for the month. The number of unemployed people fell by 710,000 to 7.7 million. Despite the improvement, September Household Survey data recorded that 5 million people were “unable to work due to their employer closing or losing business due to the pandemic.”
The economy has recovered from the worst effects of the pandemic but is still not at pre-pandemic levels of employment. In January 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.5% and about 5.8 million people were unemployed. US total employment is now at 147.5 million, 3.1% lower than January 2020.
Leisure and hospitality, a sector that did not add any jobs in August, led job growth in September, accounting for about 21.8% of new jobs added. The sector led job growth in June and July of this year as well.
The government sector lost jobs for the second month in a row. Notably, local government education lost 144,000 jobs, state government education lost 17,000, and private education lost 19,000.
The professional and business services added 60,000 or 17.6% of all new jobs for the month. Retail trade, transportation, and warehousing also had strong job growth.
Average hourly earnings continued growth this month, increasing by 19 cents to $30.85. Hourly earnings have increased $2.42 from the January 2021 average of $28.43.
From January 2020 through September 2021, average hourly earnings increased by 0.4% monthly, on average. Monthly changes from 2018 through 2019 increased by an average of about 0.26%.
Track other indicators about the pandemic and how the nation is faring at the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.
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