The US economy added 661,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 per cent, highlighting the slowdown in the recovery of America’s labour market in the final stretch of the presidential election campaign.
The data released on Friday is the final monthly update before the November election and means Donald Trump will be shouldering the worst September jobless rate of any incumbent US president in postwar history.
The figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that American employers continued to restore some of the jobs they lost during the initial pandemic-related shutdowns, but at a significantly weaker pace compared to the summer months.
In July and August, the US economy created on average 1.6m jobs per month, compared to the 661,000 in September — and America has now recovered just 11.4m of the 22.2m positions it shed between February and April.
The payroll gains last month were spread across most industry sectors, each showing more modest improvements. Leisure and hospitality added 318,000 positions, while retail gained 142,00 jobs and manufacturing employment increased by 66,000. Government shed 216,000 jobs, reflecting a drawdown of the workforce associated with the 2020 census.
The change in the unemployment rate, which is measured by a…