According to the report released on Friday, April 2 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 916,000 in March, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent. As per the BLS, “These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” Job growth was widespread across the different sectors in March, with notable gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction.
The BLS Employment Situation Report for August showed that the US job market continued to recover from the impact of the COVID19 pandemic with the unemployment rate for August, as measured in the household survey, declining by 1.8 percentage points to reach 8.4%, which is still above by 4.9 percentage points over its pre-crisis level but much better than the Consensus estimate of 9.8%. The number of unemployed persons fell by 2.8 million to 13.6 million. For its part, the establishment survey showed that 1.4 million non farm payrolls were added during the month bringing the number of total employed persons in the United States to 147.4 million of which 122.4 million were full time employed and 25.0 million were part time employed. However out of these 1.4 million additional recorded payrolls, employment in government increased by 344,000 in August, accounting for one quarter of the monthly gain and reflecting the hiring of 238,000 temporary 2020 Census workers. The US labor market is going through a fork-shaped recovery with two very distinct legs as we explain in this analysis.