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Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The final glimpse of the labor market before election day comes this morning, and it’s expected to show job growth continuing at a slower pace.

Why it matters: President Trump, who is using his record on the economy as a key message on the campaign trail, heads into election with a labor market that has been ravaged by the pandemic and is still millions of jobs in the hole.

Flashback: Before the pandemic hit, the labor market was flourishing for large swaths of America, with the unemployment rate near a 50-year low.

Yes, but: The job gains under Trump continued the upward trend that began under Barack Obama.

  • And check out the chart above: without annotations or dates, it would be impossible to see where Obama ends and Trump begins.

By the numbers: The economy would need to add over 11 million jobs to return to where it was in February.

  • That almost certainly didn't happen in September — and it’s far above Wall Street’s most optimistic estimate of roughly 1 million jobs added last month.

What to watch: Prospects for the labor market are dimming, as businesses feel the weight of the coronavirus.

  • This week was among the worst for the labor market in recent history, with tens of thousands of workers laid off at America’s biggest businesses — including 28,000 workers at Disney theme parks.
  • Airlines are beginning to let go of 32,000 employees, in the absence of additional stimulus from Washington.
  • None of these losses will appear in the jobs report, since the survey period ended in mid-September.

The bottom line: Economists warn it will be years before the labor market recovers — if the jobs come back at all.

  • “This is not an environment for creating new jobs. The pandemic is still going. The economy is still in a very severe downturn,” Brian Rose, an economist at UBS — who expects that 5 million Americans who lost work because of the pandemic will become permanent job losers — tells Axios.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 8, 2021 - Podcasts

America’s lethargic labor market

As the pandemic strengthens, America's labor market weakens, based on the latest monthly jobs report that showed a loss of 140,000 nonfarm payrolls.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the numbers, what they really mean and where things head next with Axios business reporters Courtenay Brown and Felix Salmon.

2 hours ago - World

UN Security Council meeting on Israel-Gaza as fighting enters 7th day

Smoke billows from a fire following Israeli airstrikes on multiple targets in Gaza on May 16. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council was preparing to meet Sunday, as the aerial bombardment between Israel and Hamas between entered a seventh day.

The latest: Four Palestinians died in airstrikes early Sunday, as Israeli forces bombed the home of Gaza's Hamas chief, Yehya al-Sinwar, per Reuters.

7 hours ago - World

In photos: Protests in U.S., across the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

A protest march in support of Palestinians near the Washington monument in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and DW.com report.

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