U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in September.
Data from the U.S. Labor Department on Friday show a recovery shifting into lower gear as the public health crisis continues and federal relief funds dry up.
The U.S. added 661,000 jobs last month, less than half the number gained in August. The unemployment rate fell to 7.9% from 8.4% the month before.
Economists warn many who lost jobs due to the pandemic risk becoming permanently unemployed.
Friday's numbers are the last read on the broader jobs market before Election Day. And the pace of the recovery will almost certainly be a factor in the race for the White House.
For his part, Republican President Donald Trump is likely to tout a fifth straight month of job gains and lower unemployment.
But September's gains were the smallest since the recovery started in May and left the labor market a long way from recouping the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, blames the economic turmoil on the White House's handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 people and infected over 7 million in the nation.