Chairman Yarmuth on September Jobs Report: We’re seeing “a significant and troubling slowdown in our recovery”

Oct 2, 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 the economy added 661,000 jobs – less than half the gains seen in August and a clear signal of a significant slowdown in the recovery. The unemployment rate remains exceedingly high at 7.9%, with the unemployment rate for Black and Hispanic workers at 12.1% and 10.3%, respectively. The report also showed that nearly 700,000 people left the labor force in just the last month, with four times as many women leaving the labor force than men.

“Today’s job report shows a significant and troubling slowdown in our recovery, with the largest one-month increase in long-term unemployment on record, a rise in permanent job losses, and concerning disparities across groups,” said Chairman Yarmuth. “Seven months into this crisis, we are still down nearly 11 million jobs from before the pandemic hit and the unemployment rate remains historically high. Economists have been clear and consistent that additional federal aid is needed to secure our recovery and prevent more needless suffering. House Democrats are committed to providing this critical relief and passed the updated Heroes Act yesterday, making good on our offers to compromise with Republicans while still meeting the needs of the American people. For the good of our nation, its people, and our economy, Republicans must abandon their stall tactics and take this crisis seriously – they can start by passing the updated Heroes Act.”

Additional numbers of note:

  • Job growth continues to slow, dropping from 4.8 million net new jobs in June to 661,000 net new jobs in September. This followed a massive loss of more than 22 million jobs in March and April. The economy has recovered about half of the jobs lost, but there are still 10.7 million fewer jobs than in February.
  • As of September, 2.4 million people have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, up 781,000 from August – the largest one-month increase on record. The long-term unemployed now compose 19% of all unemployed people compared to 12% in August.
  • In addition to the 12.6 million U.S. workers counted as unemployed, 4.4 million have left the labor force since February. Moreover, among those counted as employed, 6.3 million are working part-time even though they would prefer full-time work, an increase of 2.0 million since February.
  • The unemployment rate could be higher than we think. Additional analyses find that when accounting for the labor force dropouts since February and the misclassification error in the BLS survey, the unemployment rate in September would be several percentage points higher than the 7.9% reported.
  • The labor force shrunk by nearly 700,000 people in September. Among people aged 20 years and older, the labor force participation rate for women fell by 0.8 percentage points (865,000 fewer women) compared to a 0.2 percentage-point decline for men (216,000 fewer men). The labor force participation rate among women aged 35-44 years old – those most likely to have school-aged children – plummeted by 1.6 percentage points, suggesting that school closures and lack of childcare are leading women to drop out of the labor force.
  • While the number of people on temporary layoff has fallen sharply from its record-high level in April, the number of people who have been permanently laid off continues to rise, increasing by 10% last month to 3.8 million – up by 2.5 million from February. These trends suggest that more unemployment is shifting from temporary to permanent.