The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 per cent last month as the US economy added 528,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labour Statistics announced on Friday.
Despite persistent inflation, the Labour Department said job growth in the US was “widespread” in July, with “leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care” sectors all adding jobs.
The department also said the number of employed non-farm workers and the US unemployment rate are now at the same levels they were in February 2020, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of “long-term unemployed” — meaning persons without a job for more than six months — also decreased to pre-pandemic levels with a drop of 269,000 last month.
But labor force participation, which accounts for all people either employed or actively looking for work, remained at 62.1 per cent, which is below the 63.4 per cent rate it was in February 2020.
Unemployment for adult women and white people declined, but the jobless rates for adult men, teenagers, Black people, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans remained relatively unchanged.
Wages also grew in the past month, rising by 0.5 per cent in the past month and by 5.2 per cent in the past year.
The positive monthly jobs report exceeds predictions from many analysts who had suggested last month’s job gains could be fewer in number than in recent months.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had said the Biden Administration was expecting a report in the range of 150,000 jobs added last month — a far smaller number than was reported.
In a statement, President Joe Biden noted that last month’s jobs data shows the US unemployment rate at a level that is lower than at any other point in the last half-century.
“More people are working than at any point in American history. That’s millions of families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides,” Mr Biden said, crediting his economic agenda — “to build the economy from the bottom up and middle out” — with the jobs boost.
“I ran for president to rebuild the middle class – there’s more work to do, but today’s jobs report shows we are making significant progress for working families,” he added.