August jobs data shows the unemployment situation improving : The Indicator from Planet Money The August unemployment numbers were better than expected. But doesn't mean the labor market is the picture of health.
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More Job Growth, But Slower

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More Job Growth, But Slower

More Job Growth, But Slower

More Job Growth, But Slower

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/909838744/909863765" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
A man wearing a face mask walks past a sign "Now Hiring" in front of a store amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 14, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.(Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for the month of August showed that the economy created 1.4 million new jobs during the past month. The unemployment rate fell from 10.2 percent to 8.4 percent. That's the first time the unemployment rate has fallen below 10 percent since the pandemic started.

The jobs numbers are moving in a positive direction. But the employment situation is still pretty dire. The labor market may be improving overall, but the pace of that improvement has actually slowed down: the number of jobs created was smaller in August than in July. That is the second straight month there has been a decline in the number of jobs created.

Moreover, important parts of the stimulus that was supporting the economy began expiring at the end of July. That was right before the data for today's Jobs report was collected, so the report might not yet be capturing how that lost support will affect the labor market.

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