United States Unemployment August 2020

United States

United States: Labor market continues to improve in August

September 4, 2020

Total non-farm payrolls rose 1.4 million in August, broadly in line with market analysts’ expectations. This follows July’s 1.7 million payroll rise. Employment in retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services increased notably, reflecting the gradual resumption of economic activity.

The unemployment rate decreased to 8.4% in August from 10.2% in July, while the labor force participation rate edged up from 61.4% in July to 61.7% in August. Hourly earnings ticked up 0.4% month-on-month in August (July: +0.1% mom), while annual wage growth remained stable at July’s 4.7% in August.

Commenting on August’s reading and the outlook ahead, analysts at Goldman Sachs, noted:

“A 3.2 million surge in household employment lowered the jobless rate to 8.4%, and the six million workers still on “temporary layoff” suggest scope for additional large gains later this year if public health circumstances allow. We expect the unemployment rate to continue to decline over the remainder of 2020.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the unemployment rate to average 9.3% in 2020, which is down 0.3 percentage points from last month’s estimate, and 7.6% in 2021.


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United States Unemployment Chart

United States Unemployment August 20 20 1

Note: Year-on-year variation of GDP in %.
Source: Month-on-month variation of non-farm payrolls in thousands and unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted in %.

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