According to the latest Employment Situation report released by Bureau of Labor Statistics today, the U.S. economy in September added 661,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, reflecting an important slowdown in employment growth. Also known as the Jobs Report, the release shows that the share of 25- to 54-year-old prime-age workers who have a job fell from 75.3 percent in August to 75.0 percent, and the number of unemployed workers who report being on a permanent layoff increased by 345,000 for a total of 3.8 million workers out of 12.6 million unemployed workers in September.

This final Jobs Report before the 2020 presidential election calls into question what policies are needed to foster an equitable and sustained economic recovery in the midst of the coronavirus recession. The report also reflects U.S. labor market conditions more than a month after the expiration of the $600 “plus-up” in unemployment benefits funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act. The end of this plus-up is forcing workers to return to work during an uncontrolled pandemic with few other options to support themselves and their families.

At 7 percent, White workers’ unemployment rate is well-below the 8.9 percent jobless rate for Asian American workers, the 10.3 percent jobless rate for Latinx workers, and the 12.1 percent jobless rate for Black workers. The unemployment rate for women, which was lower than the jobless rate for men just before the onset of the coronavirus recession, stands 0.3 percentage points above it, at 8 percent.

So far, employment losses in the public sector are not as deep as in the private sector, but they are worrying given that government is the only major sector to have experienced net losses last month, shedding 216,000 jobs in September. Additionally, the public sector was exceptionally slow to recover from the previous economic downturn.

Read the full article about public sector workers during COVID-19 by Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez at Equitable Growth.