The US economy added 661,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.9 percent, according to the final monthly employment report before the election.
With September's hiring gain, the US economy has recovered slightly more than half the 22 million jobs that were wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
The roughly 10 million jobs that remain lost exceed the number that the nation shed during the entire 2008-2009 Great Recession.
In the last monthly employment report before the November 3 presidential election, the Labor Department said on Friday that the unemployment rate for September fell to 7.9 percent, down from 8.4 percent in August.
Since April, the jobless rate has tumbled from a peak of 14.7 percent.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000 jobs last month after advancing 1.489 million in August. Economists had been predicting that 850,000 jobs were created in September.
In the last monthly employment report before the November 3 presidential election, the Labor Department said on Friday that the unemployment rate for September fell to 7.9 percent, down from 8.4 percent in August. Since April, the jobless rate has tumbled from a peak of 14.7 percent
The unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent in September from 8.4 percent in August
Friday's numbers offers voters a final look at the most important barometer of the US economy prior to the election - an election whose outcome was thrown into deeper uncertainty by the announcement that President Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The data is sure to become a political football in the race for the White House for which the economic blow from the pandemic has been a top issue.
For his part, Trump is likely to tout the fifth straight month of job gains and lower unemployment as a sign of progress for an economy that plunged into recession in February.
September's employment gains, however, are the smallest since the jobs recovery started in May, indicating slower growth heading into the fourth quarter.
The September jobs report coincides with other data that suggests that while the economic picture may be improving, the gains have slowed since summer.
The economy is under pressure from a range of threats, including the expiration of federal aid programs that had fueled rehiring and sustained the economy - from a $600-a-week benefit for the unemployed to $500 billion in forgivable short-term loans to small businesses.
A recent wave of layoffs by large companies has heightened fears that the viral outbreak still poses a serious threat to the economy.