Reflections on the August 2020 BLS Report

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Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation report for August 2020. This release shows a continued decrease of the unemployment rate, settling into a modest journey back to pre-COVID levels. Notable gains occurred in the retail industry, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services.

Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 10.29.40 AMGraphs from BLS Employment Situation Report

Overall, total employment rose by 2.8 million in July, and the unemployment rate declined to 8.4%, nearly 2 percentage points better than July's numbers. This data shows a continued positive shift away from the dire numbers of April, as the country seems to be settling into a “new normal” of continued reopenings, albeit cautious and patch-worked.

Accounting for a quarter of this gain reflects the hiring of 238,000 temporary census workers by the federal government. The retail industry added 249,000 jobs in August, mostly in merchandise stores, but also in vehicle and parts, and electronics and appliance stores.

In addition to the usual employment data, this month's BLS report also included household survey data:

  • 24.3 percent of employed people teleworked because of the pandemic.
  • 24.2 million people reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic.
  • Among those who reported in August that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 11.6 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked.
  • 5.2 million people not in the labor force in August were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic.

Where are the job seekers? Discover Insights

Talroo will continue to monitor how the pandemic is affecting employer and job seeker demand, with a new infographic with real-time labor market data to be published the week of September 8th. See our 6 previous COVID-19 infographics on Talroo’s content resources page to see what our Insights™ data has uncovered so far.

Topics: Recruiting Industry

Updated September 4, 2020