Heading into the November election, the US jobs recovery is running out of steam.
Brenda Milian gathers with other showing their support for the 2020 Basic Income March at the Utah State Capitol on Sept. 19 in Salt Lake City.
The economy added 661,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. The unemployment rate stood at 7.9%.
This is the highest the unemployment rate has been ahead of a presidential election since the government started tracking the monthly rate in 1948.
The October jobs report will be published on the Friday following the election.
The pandemic has ravaged America’s previously strong job market and more than 22 million jobs vanished in the spring lockdown. If President Donald Trump loses the election, he could become the first President on record — going back to President Harry Truman — to leave the White House with fewer jobs than when he started.
Comparing presidents’ jobs records in their first 44 months in office over the same time period, Trump comes last.
Between January 2017 and September, 3.9 million jobs were lost.
President George W. Bush lost jobs during his first term in office following the recession that came after the dot-com bubble burst. In the first 44 months of the Bush administration, 605,000 jobs were lost — far fewer than under Trump. During Bush’s total time in office, however, jobs were added.
Government records of monthly jobs numbers go back to 1939, the middle of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration.
America’s jobs recovery is to be running out of steam. After adding back more than a million jobs every month between May and August, job growth slowed down last month.
That’s especially bad news as the country is still down 10.7 million jobs since February, before Covid-19 hit.
One of the reasons that fewer positions were added last month is the government itself: Over the past months, the Census Bureau had been hiring temporary workers for this year’s count, adding as many as 238,000 workers between July and August alone. But in September, Census employment shrank by 41,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, some companies have announced large-scale layoffs, which will be a drag on the recovery in coming months. Disney and American Airlines both announced layoffs this week — 28,000 and 19,000 workers, respectively.
This is a developing story. It will be updated