US added 943K jobs in July, topping expectations of 845K

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The US added 943,000 jobs last month, crushing expectations as businesses scrambled to hire new workers, the feds said Friday.

July’s numbers topped economists’ expectations of 845,000 jobs added, and come after the country added 850,000 jobs in June.

The unemployment dropped to 5.4 percent in June from 5.9 percent in the month prior, according to Friday’s much-anticipated jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s far higher than the 50-year low of 3.5 percent reported in February of last year, before the pandemic gutted the economy.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected to see the unemployment rate fall to 5.7 percent.

By sector, leisure and hospitality, the part of the economy hit hardest by the pandemic and subsequent government restrictions, saw the most gains, adding 380,000 jobs, with more than 250,000 coming from restaurants and bars.

Education also saw big gains, adding more than 260,000 across the board. Retail lost 6,000 jobs after picking up 67,000 in June.

Professional and business services increased by 60,000, and manufacturing gained 27,000.

Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 while wholesale trade was little changed.

Notably, construction did not pick up substantial jobs after losing 7,000 positions in June. 782,000 to 8.7 million

Still, about 8.7 million remain unemployed, the feds added, far higher than the 5.7 million unemployed in February 2020. The number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more fell by 560,000 to 3.4 million, following a rise of 233,000 reported for June.

Hiring was not nearly as robust as many economists expected through the spring. The jobs report disappointed in both April and May even as job openings soared to record highs.

Many economists have remained hopeful about the economic recovery, predicting that job gains have just been delayed, but will still come to fruition.

However, the emergence of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has stoked new fears that the pandemic could remain a major obstacle to the country’s labor market and economic recoveries.

The new federal data follows a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP that showed companies hired just 330,000 workers in July, far below the 653,000 expected.

And on Thursday, the Labor Department said that more than 2.9 million Americans are still on traditional state unemployment benefits as the number of people seeking weekly new claims appear to have settled at a level higher than previously hoped.

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