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Brian Chappatta

Permanent Job Losses Pose Trouble for Economic Recovery

The August unemployment report shows a shift from a pandemic recession to a full-blown one.

Pressure is still on for fiscal relief.

Pressure is still on for fiscal relief.

Photographer: Bridget Bennett/AFP/Getty Images

At what point does a recession caused by a global pandemic become just a straight-up recession?

The American economy is figuring that out. Labor Department data released Friday showed that U.S. payrolls in August increased by 1.37 million (including 238,000 temporary Census workers) and that the unemployment rate plunged from 10.2% to 8.4%, blowing away analysts’ estimates for a drop to 9.8%. Just looking at that headline figure alone, one might conclude that the job market is completing a V-shaped recovery, much like financial markets and other economic data published as of late.