U.S. job growth slows; nearly four million Americans permanently unemployed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employment growth slowed more than expected in September and over 300,000 Americans lost their jobs permanently, dealing a potential blow to President Donald Trump ahead of the fiercely contested Nov. 3 presidential election.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday underscored an urgent need for additional fiscal stimulus to aid the economy’s recovery from a recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The slowdown in hiring compounds problems for Trump, who announced overnight that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Just over half of the 22.2 million jobs lost during the pandemic have been recouped. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, blames the economic turmoil on the White House’s handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 people and infected over 7 million in the nation.

“The jobs report adds to Trump’s woes,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at

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Payroll growth slows to 661,000

Nonfarm payrolls rose by a lower than expected 661,000 in September and the unemployment rate was 7.9%, the Labor Department said Friday in the final jobs report before the November election.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a payrolls gain of 800,000 and the unemployment rate to fall to 8.2% from 8.4% in August. The payrolls miss was due largely to a drop in government hiring as at-home schooling continued and Census jobs fell.

“The issue is momentum, and I think we’re losing it,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist for MetLife Investment Management. “When you go through a significant disruption to the labor market, it takes time to fix itself. That’s without regard to whether there’s a virus.”

The decline in the unemployment rate came along with a 0.3 percentage point drop in the labor force participation rate to 61.4%, representing a decline of nearly 700,000. However,

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September jobs report: U.S. hiring slows for 3rd month but unemployment rate falls to 7.9%

America’s employers added 661,000 jobs in September, the third straight month of slower hiring and evidence from the final jobs report before the presidential election that the economic recovery has weakened.

With September’s hiring gain, the economy has recovered only slightly more than half the 22 million jobs that were wiped out by the viral pandemic. The roughly 10 million jobs that remain lost exceed the number that the nation shed during the entire 2008-2009 Great Recession.

The unemployment rate for September fell to 7.9%, down from 8.4% in August, the Labor Department said Friday. Since April, the jobless rate has tumbled from a peak of 14.7%.

The September jobs report coincides with other data that suggests that while the economic picture may be improving, the gains have slowed since summer. The economy is under pressure from a range of threats. They include the expiration of federal aid programs that

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