August jobs report: US economy adds 1.37 million jobs, unemployment 8.4%

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said the US added 1.37 million jobs in August. That slightly exceeded the 1.35 million payroll additions expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
  • It marks the fourth straight month of job additions as the economy tries to claw back from a coronavirus-induced recession. The US saw record job losses in April.
  • The BLS also said the US unemployment rate was 8.4% in August, down from 10.2% in July.
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The US economy added jobs for the fourth straight month in August as the labor market tries to recover from a historically sharp downturn.

American businesses added 1.37 million nonfarm payrolls during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That slightly exceeded the 1.35 million payroll additions expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The US unemployment rate came in at 8.4%, the BLS said, far lower than the 10.2% expected by economists. April’s 14.7% reading was the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The report provides the latest snapshot of the labor-market recovery following the pandemic-induced recession. 

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Americans have been waiting for further signs that the government will provide additional stimulus to aid the economic recovery and workers who have been laid off due to the virus. So far, Democrats and Republicans remain deadlocked in negotiations.

In the meantime, aid to out-of-work Americans and businesses has expired. At the end of July, the additional $600 weekly unemployment benefit ended, slashing income for millions of Americans.

In August, President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending an extra $300 per week in federal benefits with the option for states to provide an additional $100. While the program has been approved in 40 states, it may last only a few weeks. 

Also in August, the Small Business Association’s Payroll Protection Program ended. The lending program gave fully forgivable loans to small businesses that used them to keep workers on the payroll. 

The trajectory of the economic recovery is becoming increasingly important as the 2020 presidential election draws near. Trump, who often touted the strong economy before the pandemic, is lagging behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in polls. 

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates. 

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