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Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 943,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate fell from 5.9% to a new pandemic-era low of 5.4%.

Why it matters: It’s the biggest hiring spree in almost a year as the labor market makes strides to a full recovery.

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Context: Economists expected the economy to add around 850,000 jobs, though estimates varied widely from as low as 350,000 to as high as 1.2 million.

  • The government’s jobs survey occurred in mid-July — and therefore doesn’t fully reflect possible effects from the recent surge in COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant. But it shows how quickly the U.S. employment picture can improve.
  • Next month's report will show whether Delta can derail that momentum.

By the numbers:

  • The U.S. economy added 943,000 jobs. Hiring hasn't been this furious since August 2020.
  • The unemployment rate fell a half-point to a new post-pandemic low of 5.4%.
  • Total employment is now 5.7 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level, while unemployment is still quite far from the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%.

Zoom in: Pay continued to jump, with wages rising 4% from this time last year.

  • The leisure and hospitality sector continued to recover. Its 380,000 new jobs accounted for the biggest bulk of job gains — despite concerns about labor shortages.

🥊 In a nutshell: "I've never before seen such a wonderful set of economic data," tweeted Jason Furman, who served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama.

Go deeper

Delta variant fears curb fall flying

Travelers in the Miami International Airport. Photo: by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Continued worries about the Delta variant are derailing fall travel plans.

Driving the news: Thanksgiving domestic flight bookings in August were 18% lower this year compared with 2019, according to a new Adobe Digital Economy Index report out Monday morning.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
46 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.