The U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September, sending the unemployment rate down for the fifth straight month as the labor market continues to regain its footing after the Covid-19 disruption.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.9%. According to the latest federal jobs report, that’s down half a percentage point from the previous month but still up 4.4% from February before COVID-19 shutdowns began.
The U.S. has replaced 11.4 million of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April, at the beginning of the pandemic. Job growth, though, is cooling, and last month marked the first time since April that net hiring was below one million.
Employers in leisure and hospitality, retail, healthcare, and professional and business services expanded payroll last month, adding 592,000 jobs.
- Leisure and hospitality: 318,000 jobs added
- Retail trade: 142,400 jobs added
- Health care and social assistance: 107,000 jobs added
- Professional and business services: 89,000 jobs added
Large gains in ambulatory care settings drove healthcare job growth, which added 52,800 jobs in September. The healthcare unemployment rate in September was 4.5%, with 2.0% unemployment in hospital settings.
September saw continued growth in physicians (+18,000), home health care services (+16,000), and other health practitioners’ offices, BLS said.