The US economy created more than half as many jobs in September than in August, which, although the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%, underscores the fragility of the labor market just one month from l ‘presidential election.
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These figures, released on Friday, are the last to be released until the November 3 election, which does not suit incumbent President Donald Trump. Welcoming the records broken by Wall Street, the tenant of the White House is campaigning on his pre-pandemic economic record and prides himself on being the best candidate to turn the economy around.
Data shows U.S. employers continue to create the jobs they cut as the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the U.S. economy, but at a slower pace compared to the summer months.
Only 661,000 jobs were created in September, up from 1.5 million in August.
This is the “slowest increase in four months. Despite relatively solid growth since May, the economy still has 10.7 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic, ”said Kathy Bostjancic, analyst for Oxford Economics, in a note.
“Since May, 11.4 million jobs have been created, partially offsetting the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April. The slowdown in recent months is worrying, ”adds Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics.
It also warns that “permanent job losses are increasing (compared to temporary job losses, editor’s note), increasing the risk of a lasting wound on the labor market”.
The unemployment rate continues to decline slowly, since the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it to 14.7% in April. It went from 8.4% in August to 7.9% in September, according to figures released Friday by the Labor Department.
Better than expected, but still a far cry from the 3.5% in February, before the pandemic, when the unemployment rate was at its lowest level in 50 years.
It is still unclear what impact these numbers will have on the outcome of the presidential campaign, which was thundered on Friday with President Donald Trump’s announcement that he and his wife had tested positive for COVID. 19.
They could weigh on the discussions between the White House and Congress on a new plan to help households and businesses, deemed crucial by economists to allow the world’s largest economy to revive. The first aid had indeed largely supported consumption.
Republicans and Democrats have for two months failed to reach a deal, and negotiations resumed this week after months at a standstill.
However, the aid provided by the gigantic stimulus package adopted at the end of March by the Trump administration and Congress is gradually ending.
“Job growth is slowing as budget aid (from the federal government) expires – a toxic cocktail,” says Kathy Bostjancic.
A total of 12.6 million people were unemployed.
As in August, some of those temporarily made redundant have found a job. However, around 781,000 Americans are joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed – for more than six months – who are now 2.4 million.
The US economy had rebounded strongly in late spring, when containment measures were lifted. But the resurgence of the virus, and the persistent difficulties for certain sectors, such as tourism, are making the economic recovery now slower.
And in the absence of new aid, American airlines have already warned that they are going to lay off massively: American Airlines will lay off 19,000 people, its competitor United Airlines, 13,000. Disney will cut 28,000 jobs on its side and other large companies are expected to follow suit.