The most anticipated economic report of the month will be released Friday morning before the opening bell rings on Wall Street.
It is a critical report as it will be the final reading on the labor market before the November election.
Economists predict the report will show payrolls gained 850,000.
That would mark a third straight monthly slowdown, after June’s 4.8 million job gain, July’s 1.7 million and August’s 1.4 million.
If the forecast for September proves accurate, it would mean that the economy has regained only slightly more than half the 22 million jobs that vanished when the pandemic flattened the economy in early spring.
Job gains have mainly reflected millions of temporarily laid-off Americans who were called back to work when retailers, restaurants, medical offices and other businesses reopened, at least partly, from their pandemic-induced shutdowns.
However, many temporary layoffs are becoming permanent as hotels, restaurants, airlines, retailers, entertainment venues and other employers anticipate a longer slump than they initially expected. There is also growing fear of a resurgence of the virus, which would compound the threat.
A flood of government financial support had delayed such a vicious cycle in the spring and summer. A $600-a-week federal check that Congress provided in an economic aid package was made available to the unemployed in addition to each state’s jobless benefit. Government checks for $1,200 were also sent to most adults.
But the $600 benefit expired at the end of July. And while congressional negotiations, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, continue, the prospect of a significant new aid package before the November elections looks far from certain.
Yet the number of people requesting unemployment aid remains unusually elevated, with 837,000 claims filed last week. That’s about 35,000 lower than the previous week but still historically high.
Until a vaccine is developed, many economists say that hiring and economic growth won’t fully recover.
In the meantime, many large companies have announced further layoffs in recent days.
Disney said this week that it’s cutting 28,000 jobs in California and Florida.
And tens of thousands of airline workers will lose their jobs this month as federal aid to the airlines expires.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.