1.8 Million Jobs Added In July As U.S. Economy’s Pandemic Recovery Falters

TOPLINE

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that 1.8 million jobs were added in July, drastically down from the 4 million added in June—with the halt to reopenings appearing to have dampened momentum toward recovering the over 20 million jobs lost since the pandemic took hold in March.

KEY FACTS

Although unemployment ticked down for the third straight month, July’s job recovery is well behind over the 4 million reported in June, indicating a slowdown.

“We are seeing evidence that the economic recovery is losing steam. It’s not reversing, but it looks like growth is flattening out,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao told NBC News.

July’s labor report shows teenagers making up the largest age group to return to work, at 20%, while among ethnic groups, Hispanics made the largest gains (12%), but unemployment among Blacks remained flat.

Leisure and hospitality—two sectors hard-hit by the coronavirus—added one third of the total July gain, followed by food services, amusement, gambling and recreation.

Total employment, however, remains well below prepandemic levels, and over 30 million people are receiving some kind of unemployment benefits.

Questions are being raised about continued economic recovery, as the $600 federal unemployment benefits have expired for workers, along with other aid, like applications for the small business Paycheck Protection Program, set to expire Saturday.

Crucial quote

“It seems like the recovery has slowed down and appears to be getting stuck in the doldrums,” Zhao told NBC News.

Big number

20%. That’s the portion of the U.S. workforce out of work, in total more than 300 million people.

Key background

The coronavirus pandemic clobbered the economy in March as most states underwent stay-at-home orders to flatten the curve. The resulting unemployment crisis is the worst in U.S. history, dramatically outpacing the Great Depression and the 2009 financial crisis, among other economically difficult times in this nation. A record 6.9 million people filed for unemployment in March, making that week the highest number of jobless claims ever recorded. A number of states have paused reopening efforts to curb spiking rates of infection, which the Federal Reserve of St. Louis indicated a halt for unemployment recovery in a June report.

Further reading

30 Million Are Unemployed And More Pain Is On The Way: Here Are 8 Numbers That Sum Up The Destruction In The U.S. Labor Market (Forbes)

Stimulus Talks Drag On—With Little Progress—After Another Week Of Lapsed Unemployment Benefits And Eviction Protections (Forbes)

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