Nonfarm payrolls increased by 1.37 million in August and the unemployment rate tumbled to 8.4% as the U.S. economy continued to climb its way out of the pandemic downturn.
The unemployment rate was by far the lowest since the coronavirus shutdown in March, according to Labor Department figures released Friday.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting growth of 1.32 million and the jobless rate to decline to 9.8% from 10.2% in July.
Government hiring helped boost the total, with the growth of 344,000 workers accounting for a quarter of the monthly gain. Most of that hiring came from Census workers, whose tolls increased by 328,000. Despite worries of a revenue crunch among at the municipal level, local government employment rose by 95,000.
The report comes amid a raft of mostly positive economic signals, with retail sales, real estate and manufacturing showing sharp rebounds off their coronavirus lows. Still, economists worry that absent another round of stimulus from Congress, the boosts in activity could be short-lived. August’s job gains mean that more than half of those displaced during the pandemic are back at work.
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