The nation’s economy added 1.8 million jobs in July, slightly better than analysts’ expectations, while the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday (Aug. 7).
“These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in releasing the numbers.
The biggest job gains in July occurred in leisure and hospitality, government, retail, professional and business services, and healthcare, the BLS said.
The agency noted that the number of persons who work part-time increased by 803,000 to 24 million, while the number of full-time workers was flat at 119.5 million.
Economists polled by MarketWatch on Thursday (Aug. 6), before the numbers were released, predicted an increase of 1.7 million jobs in July. But the estimates in the survey ranged from a decline of 280,000 to an increase as high as four million.
“It’s hard to know how to analyze or model something that’s never happened before,” Daniel North, chief economist at the Paris-based credit insurer Euler Hermes, told MarketWatch. “But I think the recent gains are going to taper off.”