Unemployment Rate Falls Yet Again as Economy Recovers, but Report Comes With Troubles

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

The unemployment rate falls for the fifth straight month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its numbers on unemployment in September and the news is good, but perhaps not good enough.

The decline in the unemployment rate continues according to the released report and shows we now sit at 7.9 percent overall:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In September, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services. Employment in government declined over the month, mainly in state and local government education.

In September, the unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 7.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 1.0 million to 12.6 million. Both measures have declined for 5 consecutive months but are higher than in February, by 4.4 percentage points and 6.8 million, respectively.

While a drop is good, it should be noted that this drop is more shallow than many would like. As each month progresses, the unemployment rate’s decline gets smaller and smaller. As CNBC points out, the unemployment rate’s decline is beginning to get more shallow with each month.

The recovery could be better, but it’s not without its challenges.

Many states have reopened but are still weighed down with rules that prevent businesses from operating at full capacity. States like California and Oregon are still in a state of lockdown, preventing millions of businesses from reopening and thus preventing millions of more workers from rejoining the workforce.

There is also the fear of the virus still haunting many who would like to return to work but are afraid of contracting the virus. Many still do not understand the nature of the virus and believe it to be deadly to any who come across it despite research now showing us now that it only has a .03 percent death rate and mainly affects only those who have underlying conditions of a certain kind.

Still, slowly but surely, people are waking up to the reality of the virus not being the death sentence they once thought and as more people understand, consumer confidence returns, and jobless numbers go down as people wish to return to work.

On Thursday, I reported that jobless claims fell much deeper than experts thought, dropping 36,000 for the week.

While this is all well and good as our economy does better than many predicted, but the nation is collectively holding its breath and waiting to see which way this election goes. The Democrats are currently promoting the idea of more shutdowns and economic sloth in favor of “safety,” whereas as Republicans want to fling the doors open and let our economy recover.

Who wins will determine what we look like economically for years to come and many are watching and waiting, including people in the business sector.