The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 9.8% in August, which would be the first time since March that it stands below 10%. That would also be below the peak unemployment rate reached during the Great Recession.
Trump’s promise could prove difficult to achieve. The recovery is losing steam as the sugar rush from stimulus wears off, millions of people are still working from home, and retail, restaurants and other services industries remain battered from the pandemic.
“The ongoing weakness of demand in sectors like leisure and hospitality — which account for a higher share of employment than they do of broader economic activity — mean that the labor market recovery is likely to remain relatively underwhelming,” said Andrew Hunter, senior US economist at Capital Economics, in a note to clients.
Services sector jobs, many of which require face-to-face interaction, vanished by the millions following the spring lockdown. As expected, the sector has also rebounded sharply over the past months, but it’s still far from back-to-normal. Economists worry that cold winter weather could force renewed restaurant layoffs, and that prolonged remote working arrangements will hurt local employment catering to office workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish the August jobs report at 8:30 am ET on Friday.