Unemployment Rate at Lowest Point Since Start of Pandemic

JOBS GROWTH:

Increased economic activity drove the creation of 943,000 new jobs in July, following an upward restatement of June job growth from a healthy 850,000 to 938,000.

TOP INDUSTRIES:

Following recent trends, job growth in July was most robust in the leisure and hospitality sector, education and professional and business services.

UNEMPLOYMENT:

The unemployment rate dropped half a percentage point from 5.9% to 5.4%, its lowest rate since before the pandemic forced massive job loss in the country.

WAGES:

Following the trend of the past three months, compensation rose again in July, adding 11 cents to average hourly earnings.

WORK WEEK:

After an adjustment put the length of the average work week last month at 34.8 hours, it remained at that same level in August.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS:

The temporary help sector registered a gain of nearly 10,000 new jobs in July.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The latest jobs data is indicative of a strong economy and what appears to be a sustained recovery, leading experts to estimate a return to pre-pandemic life faster than previously anticipated. Optimism is on the rise, despite questions raised by the delta variant of COVID. Although cases are increasing at an alarming rate, they are significantly below earlier surges that stalled the economy. Job creation is usually a good news story, but moving from job postings to job hires today is an increasingly frustrating challenge for employers. There are currently 9.2 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., prompting employers to get more and more creative in their recruiting efforts. Not only have they raised wages, some offer sign-on bonuses (and even “show up for an interview” rewards), contests, referral incentives and more to attract much-needed talent. The goal is to put more people back to work, and all indications are that recruiters are fully engaged in meeting the challenge.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, Reuters, CNBC, Business Insider, MSNBC, ABC, FOX, MarketWatch