The United States economy continued to rebound in July, as the Labor Department’s jobs report revealed that 1.8 million jobs were gained last month.
Combined with June’s record job growth, the economy has added 6.6 million jobs since May and the unemployment rate has fallen to 10.2% from 11.1%. The 1.8 million jobs slightly outpaced economists’ projections of 1.7 million jobs, according to MarketWatch. The peak of unemployment was 19.2% in April at the height of the pandemic.
“The labor market continues to heal, which is encouraging, but there is a long road ahead,” Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America, told The New York Times.
Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan and former chief economist at the Labor Department said the real surprise in the report is that the number of permanent job losers roughly held steady from June to July. This means for every person laid off between June and July, someone else who had been permanently unemployed was hired.
Friday’s report showed significant gains in restaurants, retail, health care and local government. The report also revealed that the number of people working part-time rose by 803,000 to total 24 million in July. The government defines part-time work as anything under 35 hours per week.
The jobs report comes just as the $600 weekly unemployment supplement provided by the CARES Act in the early stages of the pandemic expired in July. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are currently in the thick of negotiations for how to proceed with more government measures to stimulate the economy. Among other points of contention, Democrats want to keep the $600 weekly supplement for the rest of the year, while Republicans want to cut it to $400 a week.
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.