Wednesday, December 8

US job growth slows in September; permanent unemployment increasing

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WASHINGTON — US job growth slowed more than expected in September and the ranks of the permanently unemployed swelled, underscoring an urgent need for additional fiscal stimulus as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and threatens the economy’s recovery.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday was the last before the fiercely contested Nov. 3 presidential election for which the economic scarring from the pandemic has been a top issue.

Republican President Donald Trump, who said on Friday he had tested positive for coronavirus, is likely to tout the fifth straight month of job gains and lower unemployment as a sign of progress for an economy that plunged into recession in February.

But September’s employment gains were the smallest since the jobs recovery started in May and left the labor market a long way from recouping the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April, indicating slower growth heading into the fourth quarter.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, blames the economic turmoil on the White House’s handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 people and infected over 7 million in the nation.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000 jobs last month after advancing 1.489 million in August. Every sector added jobs with the exception of government, which shed 216,000 positions because of the departure of temporary workers hired for the Census and layoffs at state and local government education departments as many school districts shift to online learning.