President Donald Trump may be proud of the most recent unemployment numbers, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is putting a grinding halt to the celebration. After Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to applaud the "better than expected" unemployment rate, which fell to 8.4%, Schumer hit back by pointing out that those numbers aren’t necessarily anything "to brag about."
8.4% unemployment is nothing to brag about. https://t.co/2HPkedFLy5— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 4, 2020
The Department of Labor released the most recent jobs report Thursday, showing some promising signs amid the unprecedented economic crisis, which saw unemployment rates reach levels not seen since the Great Depression. According to the report, the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% from 10.2% in July, a number far lower than the percentage many economists had predicted. As NBC News points out, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate was at 3.5%, which was the lowest in five decades.
The report also showed that weekly unemployment claims dipped to 881,000 last week, their lowest level since March and a drastic dip from the pandemic peak of almost 7 million. However, it is still a far cry from the previous average of 200,000 claims a week. The data also showed that the economy added approximately 1.4 million jobs in August. July’s revised total, meanwhile, had been 1.73 million, with June ticking in at 4.8 million. In total, more than 22 million have been lost since March.
According to ABC News, the most recent jobs report differs slightly from previous reports, as the Department of Labor announced last week that it was "changing the methodology used to seasonally adjust national initial unemployment claims." The outlet notes that "seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses in an attempt to remove the influence of predictable seasonal patterns -- such as major holidays and back-to-school schedules -- on the data." Mark Hamrick, the senior economic analyst for Bankrate, said in a statement that due to this change, "we're not able to compare would-be apples to oranges on new claims on a week-over-week basis as during the previous 23 weeks of the downturn." He did state, however, that "jobless claims came in better-than-expected and on the decline."
The report comes a month after the $600 enhanced unemployment benefit expired. Many Republicans had argued that the benefit possibly dissuaded Americans from returning to work. Despite those claims, Trump extended the benefit, at a reduced rate, in an executive order he signed. Under that order, $44 billion has been allocated from the Disaster Relief fund to provide an additional $300 weekly payment.