STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the September 2020 Jobs Report

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the September 2020 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9% percent reflecting large exits from the labor force.

Today’s jobs report confirms that President Trump has not only presided over one of the worst economic crashes in American history, but is the only president in recorded history to have presided over net job losses.

The President’s refusal to take the coronavirus public health crisis seriously has thrown the economy into chaos. There’s also good reason to question the durability of today’s gains. Today’s numbers do not reflect the series of major layoff and furlough announcements that have taken place just this week alone: Disney has announced layoffs of 28,000 workers, United is furloughing 13,400, and Shell is laying off an additional 9,000—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s top-line number also doesn’t reflect the deep inequities that are baked into the labor market. Black Americans’ unemployment rate is twice that of white Americans, and the administration has proposed nothing to shrink it. The unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans is nearly 1.5 times  that of white Americans.

Women’s employment has taken an unprecedented hit in this recession, with economists fearing a lost generation of mothers who will be permanently scarred by the recession and the failure to confront it—this month the number of women leaving the labor market was larger than total job gains. Many state and local governments, who together represent 14 percent of all American jobs—and disproportionately employ Black workers and women—are facing drastic layoffs because the administration is unwilling to help cities, towns, and school districts facing budget crises.

The truth is that the labor market is in much worse shape than it should be. The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) inability to put together a substantial relief package is, as many economists are warning, paving the way for the United States to enter a deep, protracted recession that will hurt those who can least afford it the most. It also threatens to do permanent harm to the millions of children who cannot safely go to school and the millions of people—disproportionately women—who are facing additional care burdens.

The Trump administration and Leader McConnell’s months of stonewalling a relief package stands in sharp contrast to the speed at which they are jamming through a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who will rubber-stamp their agenda of repealing the Affordable Care Act and take health care away from more than 20 million people in the middle of a pandemic. Their priorities are clear: Stripping Americans of their health care comes before saving the economy. The 10.7 million people who have lost their jobs since March are paying the price.

 

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