Transmission of material in this statement is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (ET) October 2, 2020.
William W. Beach
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Friday, October 2, 2020
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 661,000 in
September, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent. These
improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic
activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-
19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.
In September, employment continued to increase in several
industries, with the largest gains in leisure and hospitality,
in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in
professional and business services. By contrast, employment
declined in government, mainly in state and local government
The September payroll employment increase of 661,000
followed larger gains in the prior 4 months. As of September,
total nonfarm payroll employment is down by 10.7 million (or 7.0
percent) since February, before the pandemic unfolded in many
parts of the United States.
Although unemployment fell for the fifth month in a row in
September, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed
people are up by 4.4 percentage points and 6.8 million,
respectively, since February.
The response rate for the establishment survey was slightly
below average in September. The rate for the household survey,
while still below normal due to pandemic-related issues, was
much higher than in recent months. The impact of the pandemic on
the household and payroll surveys is detailed in the September
Employment Situation news release and accompanying materials
(see www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_10022020.htm). For
both surveys, we were able to obtain estimates that meet BLS
standards for accuracy and reliability.
Taking a closer look at the September payroll data,
employment in leisure and hospitality grew by 318,000,
accounting for nearly half of the increase in total nonfarm
employment. While leisu