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Weekly economic review & outlook
Strong rehiring adds a boost to the recovery

SEP. 08, 2020

You Need to Know

Week in review

Nonfarm payrolls up by 1.4 million during August

The sharp job market recovery extended into August, while the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.4 percent.

Auto sales continued to rebound for August

The annualized pace of light vehicle sales rose to 15.2 million units for August, extending the recovery that began in May.

Week Ahead

Forecasts

A smaller rise expected for consumer prices

With energy prices flatter in July than in recent months, inflation for August is expected to be more moderate.

Department of Labor changes adjustment method

In order to make seasonality the driving force behind the difference between seasonally adjusted and unadjusted initial unemployment claims, the Department of Labor has changed the adjustment from a multiplicative method to an additive method.

The labor market continues to heal rapidly from the COVID-19 recession as rehiring of furloughed workers remained strong in August. Payrolls rose by 1.37 million to bring combined job gains over the past four months to more than 10.6 million. While total employment is still down by 11.5 million workers from the pre-pandemic peak, the recovery since state and local governments allowed businesses to reopen in May has been sharp. Services again led the way during August with outsized gains for retail trade, professional services, and leisure and hospitality — all sectors which continue to reset from unprecedented COVID-19 losses earlier this year. A surge in temporary hiring for the 2020 Census – which will be reversed in coming months – also helped to push up job growth for August.

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