As Americans head into the long Labor Day weekend, they can mull over the good news that millions more people are back to work.

According to today’s August Jobs Report, 1.4 million jobs were added and the unemployment rate dipped to 8.4 percent.

The unemployment rate for women dropped significantly and so did the rates for other demographics including white workers, black workers, Hispanic workers, and young workers.

Here are 5 key statistics from the jobs report:

  1. 2.8 Million – The number of unemployed persons fell by 2.8 million to 13.6 million.
  2. 8.6 Percent – The unemployment rate for women fell to 8.6 percent from 10.6 percent.
  3. 3.1 Million – The number of persons on temporary layoff decreased by 3.1 million to 6.2 million, down from the series high of 18.1 million in April.
  4. 0.3 Percent – The labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point to 61.7 percent meaning more 
  5. 24.2 million – The number of people that were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic down from 31.3 million.

The biggest gains were in areas where, not surprisingly, businesses have started to reopen: retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services. Hiring for temporary Census jobs also gave government employment a boost.

This report should give Americans confidence that the U.S. economy is in recovery mode. 

Despite the coronavirus headwinds, many Americans are surprisingly optimistic and many people recognize that things could be worse. According to a new Pew study reported by CNN, 30 percent of Americans think the current economic situation is good while 69 percent think it’s bad. When we compare this to perceptions during the Great Recession, only 17 percent thought the economy was good in 2009.

Americans know that the economy’s falter was due to coronavirus and the government’s response. Government-mandated shutdowns, shelter-in-place orders, business restrictions and closures, and school closures led to the massive job losses we have suffered.

At this time when Congress and the White House are locked in debate over new stimulus spending to provide relief to American businesses and families, we cannot ignore that reopening our businesses, workplaces, and educational institutions are the best and most effective stimulus plans, provided it is done safely.