For the third month in a row, the U.S. economy experienced a growth in jobs despite a spike in COVID-19 cases across many regions of the country. According to the Department of Labor, nonfarm payrolls increased by an additional 1.8 million jobs in July. That’s slightly better than the 1.5 million job gains predicted by economists. As a result of this uptick, the unemployment rate dropped to 10.2% from 11.1% the previous month. Although these numbers are inching closer to pre-pandemic growth, the labor market’s growth is decelerating from last month’s 4.8 million job gains in June.
July 2020 Jobs Report Overview
The addition of 1.8 million jobs is a steep decline from the shocking gain of 4.8 million jobs last month, the most significant single-month increase in U.S. history. However, despite surges in coronavirus cases, the U.S. economy is still adding jobs as many businesses slowly begin to open their doors. “The labor market continues to heal, which is encouraging, but there is a long road ahead,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America.
Although improving at a slower rate, these numbers are surprising to many economists as unemployment claims are still trickling in. In the week ending on August 1, adjusted initial unemployment claims reached 1.18 million. As COVID-19 cases continue to soar, it will be interesting to see how this number fluctuates. Some states (such as Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California) may see this number increase, while others will decline as other states relax restrictions.
Additionally, the unemployment rate fell 0.9%, from 11.1% to 10.2%. This decline is a great indication that America is continuing to heal. However, the unemployment rate remains above the Great Recession high of 10% that was reached in October 2009. The labor force participation rate was 61.4%, virtually unchanged from the previous month. But on the brighter side, the average hourly earnings rose by $0.07 to $29.39, a nice surprise for many economists.
Where are the job gains?
Significant employment increases occurred in leisure and hospitality (+592,000), government (+301,000), retail trade (+258,000), professional and business services (+170,000), healthcare (+126,000), social assistance (+66,000), transportation and warehousing (+38,000), manufacturing (+26,000), financial activities (+21,000), and construction (+20,000). All other services industry added 149,000 jobs and mining again saw a decline of jobs (-7,000).
Revisions from previous months
Over the last two months, total nonfarm payroll employment gains were revised. In May, payroll employment increased by 26,000, from +2,699,000 to +2,725,000. In June, payroll gains were revised slightly down by 9,000, from +4,800,000 to +4,791,000. With revision over the last two months combined, employment was 17,000 higher than previously reported.
Get some hiring help in this volatile market
It’s evident from the July 2020 Jobs Report that the economy is still recovering. And as the market continues to heal, employers are starting to gain confidence in their hiring efforts. If you are ready to begin filling your vacant positions, reach out to a recruiter from JSG. We are ready to help you source the talent you need to get production levels back on track. Contact us today, and let’s work together to design a hiring strategy that works for you.