The U.S. gained 661,000 jobs in September, the Labor Department reported Friday in the final jobs report before Election Day.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent in September as the U.S. posted its fifth consecutive month of job gains after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic triggered the deepest and quickest economic contraction since the Great Depression.
The report, however, came in well below the projections of economists and contained several red flags about the strength of the recovery from the coronavirus recession.
September marked the fourth consecutive month of declining job gains after additions of 4.7 million in June, 1.7 million in July and 1.5 million in August, according to revised figures released Friday.
Economists had expected the U.S. to gain roughly 800,000 jobs in September to push the unemployment rate down to roughly 8.2 percent from 8.4 percent in August. While the jobless rate fell below that level, the labor force participation rate — the percentage of potential workers seeking jobs — fell 0.3 percent, indicating declining confidence in the ability to find work.