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

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Wall Street: Recession is over

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. economic activity fell more sharply in the second quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history. It's also going to grow more sharply in the third quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history.

  • The recession is over, according to Wall Street, with current forecasts showing sustained economic growth through 2021 and beyond.

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

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