ALL NEWS

US unemployment rate falls to 8.4% even as hiring slows

Sep 4, 2020, 6:08 AM | Updated: 7:54 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in August to 8.4% from 10.2% even as hiring slowed, with employers adding the fewest jobs since the pandemic began.

Employers added 1.4 million jobs, the Labor Department said, down from 1.7 million in July. The U.S. economy has recovered about half the 22 million jobs lost to the pandemic.

Friday’s report added to evidence that nearly six months after the coronavirus paralyzed the country, the economy is mounting only a fitful recovery. From small businesses to hotels, restaurants, airlines and entertainment venues, a wide spectrum of companies are struggling to survive the loss of customers with confirmed viral cases still high.

After an epic collapse in the spring, when the economy shrank at a roughly 30% annual rate, growth has been rebounding as states have reopened at least parts of their economies. Yet the recovery remains far from complete.

Many economists think significant hiring may be hard to sustain because employers are operating under a cloud of uncertainty about the virus. Daily confirmed case counts have fallen from 70,000 in June to about 40,000. The decline has leveled off in the past week and the viral caseload remains higher than it was in May and June.

As a result activities like restaurant dining and air travel are still far below pre-pandemic levels. Most economists say a meaningful economic recovery will likely be impossible until the coronavirus is brought under control, most likely from the widespread use of a vaccine.

Friday’s jobs data was the second-to-last employment report — for most voters, the most visible barometer of the economy — before Election Day, Nov. 3. President Donald Trump faces the daunting task of seeking re-election in the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. Yet voters in surveys have generally given him higher marks on the economy than they have on other aspects of his presidency.

The jobs report coincides with growing signs that more companies are making permanent job cuts rather than temporary furloughs. That trend could keep the unemployment rate persistently high. It is typically harder for an unemployed worker to find a new job at a new company or in a new industry than to return to a previous employer.

Casino and hotel operator MGM Resorts, slammed by declines in travel and tourism, said last week that it’s eliminating 18,000 jobs. Coca Cola, which derives half its sales from stadiums, theaters and other venues that have been largely shut down, is offering buyouts to 4,000 employees. Salesforce said it is cutting 1,000 jobs. Bed, Bath & Beyond will shed 2,800.

Federal Reserve report this week based on anecdotal reports from businesses found “rising instances of furloughed workers being laid off permanently as demand remained soft.”

Roughly 29 million Americans are receiving state unemployment aid, although their total benefits, on average, have shrunk by more than half since the expiration of a $600-a-week federal supplement more than a month ago. The Trump administration has set up a program that will provide some of the unemployed with $300 a week.

But new rules and requirements will make many of the unemployed ineligible. Only people who receive at least $100 a week in state unemployment aid will qualify for the $300 federal supplement — a requirement that could exclude at least 850,000 Americans.

The ongoing job losses and economic slump have left a rising share of Americans out of work for longer periods. From June to July, the number of people who were unemployed for 15 weeks or longer tripled to more than 6 million.

One consequence is that rising stress and anxiety are evident at therapists’ offices and mental health hotlines around the country. Calls from March through July to the U.S. government-funded Disaster Distress Helpline, which offers counseling and emotional support, surged 335% from the same period last year.

And half of U.S. adults reported at least some signs of depression, such as hopelessness, feelings of failure or an inability to derive pleasure from daily activities, in a survey published Wednesday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open. That amounted to twice the rate from a survey two years ago.

“Not many days go by where I don’t have a couple where one partner or both are not working or furloughed,” said Todd Creager, a therapist in Southern California who treats mostly middle- to upper-middle-class adults.

What’s more, the economy appears to be operating on two tracks, resulting in an uneven and unequal recovery. Manufacturers are enjoying a solid rebound in demand for cars, appliances and electronics, with factory orders nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.

Home sales are also booming. So are home prices. Sales of existing homes surged by the most on record in July and are now nearly 9% higher than a year ago.

In addition, wealthier and well-educated workers have been far less likely to lose jobs to the pandemic than lower-income and minority workers have, in part because of a greater ability to work from home.

The coronavirus has also reshaped much of the consumption of affluent households: While spending less on restaurants and at shops and movie theaters, they are buying new homes to gain more space or renovating their houses to serve as workplaces as well as homes.

___

Associated Press Writer Lindsey Tanner contributed to this report from Chicago.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

FILE - Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Crimina...

MICHAEL SISAK Associated Press

New York appeals court overturns Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction from landmark #MeToo trial

NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s highest court on Thursday overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction, finding the judge at the landmark #MeToo trial prejudiced the ex-movie mogul with “egregious” improper rulings, including a decision to let women testify about allegations that weren’t part of the case. “We conclude that the trial court erroneously admitted […]

7 minutes ago

FILE - Chicago's iconic Rat Hole along the 1900 block of West Roscoe Street in the Roscoe Village n...

RICK CALLAHAN and KATHLEEN FOODY Associated Press

Chicago’s ‘rat hole’ removed after city determines sidewalk with animal impression was damaged

CHICAGO (AP) — The “rat hole” is gone. A Chicago sidewalk landmark some residents affectionately called the “rat hole” was removed Wednesday after city officials determined the section bearing the imprint of an animal was damaged and needed to be replaced, officials said. The imprint has been a quirk of a residential block in Chicago’s […]

32 minutes ago

former president trump, immunity...

 MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

No one is above the law. Supreme Court will decide if that includes Trump while he was president

Former President Trump's lawyers argue that former presidents are entitled to absolute immunity for their official acts.

44 minutes ago

A composite sketch of a woman who the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's h...

Cassidy Wixom, KSL.com

Duchesne County asking public to help identify woman whose remains were found 21 years ago

The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in identifying the remains of a woman.

2 hours ago

Visitors stand at the closed gates leading to the Eiffel Tower, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Paris....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Paris Olympics might stink

When it rains in Paris… things take a dark turn.

3 hours ago

Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych, on Wednesday April 24, 202...

Pan Pylas, Associated Press

Rush hour chaos in London as 5 military horses run amok after getting spooked during exercise

LONDON (AP) — Five military horses spooked by noise from a building site bolted during routine exercises on Wednesday near Buckingham Palace, threw off four riders and caused chaos as they galloped loose through central London streets and collided with vehicles during the busy morning rush hour. The commotion erupted when the horses from the […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

US unemployment rate falls to 8.4% even as hiring slows