US unemployment falls to lowest level since COVID-19 hit

There was some encouraging news on the economy Friday, but one New Jersey professor is worried about what’s ahead. The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in August. That’s the lowest level since March, when the coronavirus forced the shutdown of many businesses. On top of that, the U.S. economy created nearly 1.4 million jobs last month. These numbers were better than expected, but employment is still down sharply from its pre-COVID-19 levels.

Stockton University associate professor Oliver Cooke said he is concerned about what happens to job growth this fall, pointing to the fact that some big corporations, including the airlines, have recently warned of job reductions.

After the holiday weekend, the big focus will be on the state’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The Senate Budget and Appropriations committee is scheduled to hold hearings on the budget on Tuesday. Ahead of that, Gov. Phil Murphy held a Facebook Live Town Hall, where he defended his calls for higher taxes.