Payrolls increased 528,000 in July, much better than expected in a sign of strength for jobs market

5 days ago
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Hiring in July was far better than expected, defying signs that the economic recovery is losing steam, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 528,000 for the month and the unemployment rate was 3.5%, easily topping the Dow Jones estimates of 258,000 and 3.6% respectively.

Wage growth also surged higher, as average hourly earnings jumped 0.5% for the month and 5.2% from the same time a year ago. Those numbers add fuel to an inflation picture that already has consumer prices rising at their fastest rate since the early 1980s.

Markets initially reacted negatively to the report, with Dow Jones futures down more than 120 points.

Leisure and hospitality led the way in job gains with 96,000, followed by professional and business services with 89,000. Health care added 70,000 and government payrolls grew 57,000. Goods-producing industries also posted solid gains, with construction up 32,000 and manufacturing adding 30,000.

Despite downbeat expectations, the July gains were the best since February and well ahead of the 388,000 average job gain over the past four months. The BLS release noted that total nonfarm payroll employment has increased by 22 million since the April 2020 low when most of the U.S. economy shut down to deal with the Covid pandemic.

The bureau noted that private payrolls are now higher than the February 2020 level, just before the pandemic declaration, though government jobs are still lagging.

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