Chairman Yarmuth on Oct. Jobs Report: Administration & Their Enablers in Congress Deliberately & Irresponsibly Ignoring Connection Between These Crises

Nov 6, 2020

Washington, D.C.— Today, Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 638,000 in October – a decrease from September – and the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. The unemployment rate was 10.8% for Black workers and 8.8% for Hispanic workers.

As of October, the economy has recouped 55% of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April, and the slowing pace of job gains suggests we are years away from a full recovery.

“Today’s jobs report is further proof that we remain in a deep recession and our recovery is slowing because this Administration and their enablers in Congress are deliberately and irresponsibly ignoring the connection between the public health and economic crises we face,” said Chairman Yarmuth. “The U.S. is setting terrifyingly high daily COVID case records and millions of American families are suffering – yet Senate Republicans continue to block relief efforts.

“Fed Chair Jerome Powell made clear yesterday that our economic outlook is dependent on crushing this virus. We have ample fiscal capacity to defeat COVID and rebuild a stronger economy than we had before. Election Day is over, so Republicans can stop whatever callous political calculation they were making and work with House Democrats to provide an overdue and desperately needed bipartisan relief package.”

Additional numbers of note from today’s report below. Download charts here.

  • Employment remains down 10.1 million jobs since February. The number of people unemployed fell by 1.5 million in October to 11.1 million – still nearly twice the number in February. More than 15 million people said they were unable to work or worked fewer hours than usual because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. [CHART]
  • Severe racial disparities in unemployment persist. While unemployment rates fell for each racial group, they remain highly disparate. Unemployment among white workers fell to 6.0% compared to 7.6% for Asians, 8.8% for Hispanics, and 10.8% for Black workers. Black unemployment remains 1.8 times higher than white unemployment. [CHART]
  • Compared to February, the labor force is 3.7 million people smaller. After plummeting in September, the labor force participation rate among women aged 20 years and older rebounded slightly, but there are still nearly 400,000 fewer women in the labor force than in August and 2.2 million fewer than in February.
  • Long-term unemployment surged again in October. The number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer skyrocketed in October, increasing by 1.2 million people (or nearly 50%) to 3.6 million people. [CHART]
    • This is the largest month-over-month increase on record, beating the record set in September. The long-term unemployed now compose 33% of all unemployed people compared to 19% in September.
  • Labor underutilization remains high. The number of people who would prefer full-time employment but are working part time because their hours were reduced or they could not find full-time employment increased by nearly 400,000 people in October, a reversal after five consecutive months of declines.
  • No major industry has yet to return to its February employment levels. Jobs were added in every major sector save for government. Excluding government workers, private-sector payrolls increased by 906,000, slightly more than the increase in September.
  • Government lost 268,000 jobs in October. These losses were driven by the completion of the 2020 Census, which shaved 147,000 jobs off federal government employment.
    • State and local payrolls remain down 1.3 million jobs since February. State and local payrolls fell by 130,000 jobs on net in October but saw more significant losses in education, with education payrolls falling by 159,000. [CHART]
  • According to data released yesterday, last week was the 33rd-straight week that the number of initial unemployment claims was larger than the worst week of the Great Recession. Another 1.1 million unemployment claims were filed last week, a slight decline from the previous week. There has been little improvement in this indicator since October.

# # #