Aug 7, 2020 - Economy

U.S. economy adds 1.8 million jobs in July

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. added 1.8 million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from 11.1% in June, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continued to recover but the pace of job growth slowed significantly from June’s 4.8 million job gain, suggesting a stalled improvement as coronavirus cases surged and states pulled back on reopening plans.

The big picture: One-third of all jobs gained in July came from the leisure and hospitality sector.

  • There were also 301,000 jobs added in the government sector, thanks in part to "unusually large" increases in local education hiring, the government said.
  • The typical firings that take place occurred earlier than usual this year because of the pandemic, distorting the government's seasonality adjustments.

One factor economists are watching is how many workers temporarily laid off because of the pandemic are returning to work as some businesses reopen.

  • The number of unemployed persons who were on temporary layoff fell by 1.3 million in July to 9.2 million. They're about half what they were in April.
  • There was no significant change in the number of permanent job losers in July.

The bottom line: The labor market remains solidly in the hole, as roughly 22 million jobs were lost between March and April.

Go deeper