Job Report: Another 1.8 Million Americans Get Back to Work

Another 1.8 million Americans re-enter the job market in July as the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent. 

JOB GROWTH: Job creation in July totaled 1,763,000, following slight revisions of the May and June numbers that netted an increase of 17,000 more jobs than originally reported. 

TOP INDUSTRIES: The leisure and hospitality sector continued to expand its employment ranks in July. Other sectors showing strong growth included government, retail trade, professional and business services, healthcare, and other services (e.g., personal and laundry services).

UNEMPLOYMENT: For the third consecutive month, the unemployment rate fell, shifting downward from 11.1% to 10.2%. The ranks of the unemployed fell by 1.4 million to 16.3 million people.

WAGES: Average hourly earnings saw an uptick of seven cents per hour in July.  

WORK WEEK: The average work week for July was 34.5 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: In a case of déjà vu, the temporary help sector gained another 144,000 jobs this month, after seeing nearly the same job growth in June.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The pace of job creation in the past month was not quite as brisk as in the previous two months, although it delivered a very healthy 1.8 million jobs. This activity brought the size of the workforce up to 143.5 million people. We still have a ways to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels, with some pundits describing our progress in fighting the pandemic as a game of whack-a-mole. In other words, while we continue to rebuild our national strength, we do so in spurts, with setbacks battling gains in different regions of the country every week. The pace of the recovery may be slowing as we await vaccine development, making it that much more important for employers to ensure they have the right talent on their teams to drive growth at every opportunity.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNN, Staffing Industry Analysts, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance