September unemployment rate falls to half of recent projections


According to today’s jobs report from the US Department of Labor, the US unemployment rate in September was 7.9 percent, down from 8.4 percent in August. As the following chart shows, that’s significantly better than the projections issued by the Congressional Budget Office in May, which expected the unemployment rate in the third quarter (that is, for the months of July, August, and September) to average 15.8 percent.

That means September’s actual unemployment rate is half of the average unemployment rate CBO projected for the quarter including this month.

CBO Projection vs. Actual Unemployment Rate, CYs 2020-21

Sources: Congressional Budget Office and Department of Labor. The “CBO projection” line is the author’s depiction based on monthly, quarterly, and annual unemployment rate projections included in Table 1 of the May 2020 CBO report.

Learn more: Unemployment is improving far faster than projected – unlike after the Great Recession | Unemployment claims have fallen faster since the $600 unemployment bonus expired | What unemployment benefits are in House Democrats’ latest coronavirus relief bill?

Matt Weidinger is a Rowe Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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