During the month of August, employers have added more than a million jobs to the economy – 1.37 million, to be precise.
There have been big gains in the employment sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic – professional and business services, retail, leisure and hospitality.
Three million people who were on temporary layoff returned to work, which helped reduce the double-digit unemployment rate to 8.4%.
Now a few caveats: About 238,000 of these “new” jobs represent temporary census workers who will soon be out of work. The total also includes a lot of part-time jobs. And job growth is slowing, from nearly $ 5 million per month in June.
So what does all of this tell us about the economy?
This economy has been through a lot since mid-March. About 15% of all jobs in America have evaporated in just a few weeks.
We have since recovered jobs.
“It was good; it wasn’t great,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. “That says we continue to grow, but we also have a long way to go.”
Gaining 1.4 million jobs would be a blockbuster in normal times. But Manhattan Institute economist Beth Akers has now said that figure “could give the mistaken impression that we’re doing pretty well out of this hole.” But the reality is, we’re only halfway there.
Just over 10 million of the 22 million jobs we lost have come back, and job gains are slowing. Akers said it was actually a story of two recoveries.
“Employment levels of high-income workers are almost back to pre-crisis levels, while employment levels of low-wage workers remain significantly below where they were,” Akers said. “It is also not known when these workers will be able to return to work.”
Jobs in bars and restaurants, for example, are still down 25% from before the pandemic, leaving many workers out of the recovery so far.
Workers like Cody Sorensen. He is 33 and worked as a waiter at an upscale Italian restaurant in West Hollywood, California until mid-March.
Sorensen is on indefinite layoff. He still receives health benefits and an unemployment check for $ 400 per week. When does it run out?
“I mean, I’m just going to have to go get another job, or I’m just going to have to move, I guess, back to my home in Texas,” Sorensen said.
Where he hopes there will be less competition for the new jobs that arise.