AllMarket Outlook
logoArgusOctober 02, 2020

Daily Spotlight: Unemployment Rate Down to 7.9%

Market Outlook
Neutral - Short term

The U.S. economy added back 661,000 jobs in September -- a bit below Street expectations -- as companies continued to bring employees back to work. The unemployment rate dropped from 8.4% in August to 7.9%. Employment rose sharply in Leisure and Hospitality (almost one-half of the month's total gains), Retail Trade, Healthcare and Professional & Business Services. The government workforce was down more than 200,000, largely due to a reduction in local government education. Previously, the Labor Department reported that another 837,000 people filed unemployment claims, and the total of continuous claims was 12.7 million. Those figures indicate that the employment environment, while improving, is still under stress. According to the Labor Department, the economy has added back more than 10 million jobs since April. But the pre-pandemic employment total high in February is still more than 11 million jobs away. We expect the unemployment rate will remain high through 2020 as the U.S. economy slowly recovers. That recovery may depend on additional fiscal stimulus, as well as the recovery in health for the country, as the markets absorb the news that President Trump has tested positive for COVID-19.

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