US adds 638K jobs in October as COVID recovery slows

The US labor market’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continued to slow in October with employers adding 638,000 jobs as infections surged across the country, the feds said Friday.

Last month marked the fourth straight month of decreased job growth even though the latest hiring pushed the unemployment rate down to 6.9 percent from 7.9 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While October’s hiring was better than economists’ expectations for 600,000 jobs, the closely watched report underscores the increasingly fragile state of the economic recovery that either President Trump or Joe Biden will face once a winner is declared in the too-close-to-call presidential election.

“Growth in every month since June has been progressively slower,” said Dan North, senior economist at Euler Hermes North America. “The easy job gains have come and gone. Consumers are saving and not spending, and income support is drying up.”

It also comes amid a third surge in COVID-19 infections that has led the US to report more than 100,000 cases on each of the past two days, raising concerns about renewed lockdowns like those that led to record unemployment in the spring.

While the lifting of those lockdowns helped the economy expand at a record pace in a third quarter, businesses are still grappling with the financial fallout from the pandemic and big corporations from Disney to ExxonMobile have announced layoffs in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Congress has failed to deliver another federal aid package to help struggling employers and consumers. Economists say more stimulus spending is needed to keep the recovery going and prevent the economy from faltering further.

With Post wires

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