The United States economy added 661,000 jobs in September and the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.9%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers published Friday. The numbers indicate that the U.S. has recovered over half of the over 20 million jobs it lost in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has also cut significantly into April's record high 14.7% unemployment.
In the news release, the bureau said that the numbers reflect a "continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it."
The job gains did, however, fall slightly short of estimates, perhaps indicating a marginal slowdown in the recovery. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a payrolls gain of 800,000, according to CNBC.
But on the other hand, September's unemployment rate beat estimates. Economists expected that figure to drop to only 8.2% from its previous position at 8.4% in August.
In a statement to Fox Business, Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo, said: "These data are consistent with a labor market that is rebounding, albeit at a slower pace than a few months ago, which should be enough to support consumers and consumption. While risks remain, such as election and COVID-19-related uncertainty, we believe investors should continue to remain fully invested."
CNBC noted that the markets did not react much to the news since they were already poised for a lower open following news that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.
The outlet also reported that despite lower-than-expected job gains, there were in fact several positive indicators of a steady recovery found in the latest report.
"Those reporting being on temporary layoff fell by 1.5 million to 4.6 million. Workers holding part-time jobs for economic reasons fell by 1.3 million to 6.3 million, and the totals for longer-term layoffs also decreased considerably," it noted.
In the report, leisure and hospitality led the way with 318,000 jobs added, followed by retail trade with 142,00 and health care and social assistance with 108,000.
A significant reduction in government employment, specifically in state and local government education, offset some of the gains. State and local government education experienced a 280,000 job decline, but added jobs elsewhere in the sector brought the total loss to 216,000.
The September jobs report is the final report that will be issued before the Nov. 3 election.