US economy added 1.8M jobs in July; unemployment at 10.2%

Marco Green
August 8, 2020

Hiring in the United States slowed sharply in July as the country struggled to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The white unemployment rate fell to 9.2 percent in July, compared to 14.6 percent for African-Americans and 12.9 percent for Latinos.

Employers are hedging their bets by adding part-time jobs. Of those, 1.3 million have been deemed eligible for benefits and 96% of eligible workers have received some payment, the Labor Department said in its weekly claims report. It was also down from 11.1% in May.

At its peak, the unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April.

"Joblessness is still tremendously high, but it is moving in the right direction", said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed.

Employment ticked up across most industries and sectors, according to the Friday report.

The jobs added in July were in leisure and hospitality, government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care. Construction jobs were little changed from a month earlier, and mining was the only sector to shed jobs in the period.

Manufacturing gained 26,000 jobs in July, but employment in the sector is still 740,00 lower than in February. The number of workers on temporary layoff fell by 1.3 million in July to 9.2 million. The May report was a surprise, announcing 2.5 million jobs when analysts were expecting a loss of about 2.5 million. A massive 54 million Americans have claimed unemployment since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. USA employment still remains almost 13 million below the February pre-coronavirus pandemic level, according to the report.

Further, throughout July, a number of indicators flashed warning signs that the economic recovery had lost momentum.

Layoffs continue apace. The number of people recently put out of work - those jobless less than 5 weeks - increased by 364,000 to 3.2 million in July.

Looking at the population as a whole, the percentage of people employed did not change much from June to July, but more of the people who were employed were in part-time jobs. That's down from more than 28,000 the week prior and well below March and April, when more than 200,000 workers were filing new claims weekly.

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