The U.S. economy added nearly 1.5 million jobs during the month of August, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly payrolls report.

The report said there was an addition of 1.4 million payrolls for the month, and the unemployment rate declined nearly 2 points to 8.4% — the first time it’s been under 10% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department noted that the number of unemployed Americans fell by almost 3 million to 13.6 million.

The figure follows 1.8 million new jobs in July and a record 4.8 million in June. Most economists had projected about 1.3 million jobs for August.

“These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the department wrote. “In August, an increase in government employment largely reflected temporary hiring for the 2020 Census.

“Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services.”

“The August employment report should remain encouraging, showing the U.S. labor market continuing to heal and remaining firmly on its recovery path,” Wells Fargo economist Sam Bullard said. “That said, the pace of hiring is slowing and the trajectory of the recovery going forward is heavily dependent on the coronavirus.”

ADP and Moody’s Analytics said in a private assessment Wednesday that 428,000 jobs were added in August.

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