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Jobs increased by 528,000 in July

US employers added 528,000 new jobs in July, beating economists’ forecasts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, close to what is considered full employment and a half-century low. Labor force participation, however, was lower in July, falling to 62.1% from 62.2 in June. Average hourly earnings rose 5.2% in July from a year earlier, a slight acceleration from the previous month.

Overall employment has finally returned to pre-pandemic levels last seen in February 2020. Gains have been broad-based, with the largest increases reported in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and healthcare. health.

“Despite the threats of recession still looming, we continue to see employer demand across all sectors, including professional and business services, retail and hospitality,” said Amy Glaser, vice president principal of workforce solutions company Adecco. “While job growth was fairly broad-based, retail and hospitality proved to be particularly strong in terms of job creation,” she said. “However, employment in hospitality continues to lag behind pre-pandemic levels.”

Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, noted that upward job revisions in May and June combined to create 28,000 more jobs in the second quarter than previously thought. “Jobs gains remain well above their 2011-2019 pace, when 194,000 payrolls were added per month, on average,” she said.

Job creation in leisure and hospitality led July with 96,000 new jobs. Professional and business services added 89,000 jobs, and healthcare employers added 70,000 jobs, mostly in healthcare services and hospitals and nursing facilities. Jobs also increased in government (57,000), construction (32,000), manufacturing (30,000) and retail (21,600).

“The jobs gains have been deep and pervasive,” Pollak said. “Despite the huge slowdown in the housing market and mortgage applications, employment in the real estate sector remained unchanged.”

“With employment gains seen in July, employee retention has now become a priority for many industries,” Glaser said. “What we’re seeing with hiring managers beginning to plan their budgets for 2023 is a more data-driven approach, taking into account the fluctuating nature of the economy and observing trends in job numbers to not overstay the hiring process, while ensuring that their employees feel valued and engaged.

Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO of the American Staffing Association, added that “With nearly two job openings for every unemployed worker and labor force participation rates remaining at their lowest in 40 For years, our economy continues to grapple with how to address the shortage of skilled talent for the jobs that are in demand in this country.

He said policy makers must recognize the need for action to address the skills gap crisis. “The skills gap crisis will not go away until the public and private sectors come together and make reskilling and upskilling this country’s workers a top priority.”

Labor market benchmarks remain the strongest argument against a looming recession, although a separate government report released last week showed back-to-back quarterly declines in GDP, meaning the economy meets the technical criteria for a recession. And the headwinds of the highest inflation in four decades and rising interest rates could start to have an effect. Unemployment insurance claims have steadily increased this year, and some companies have announced hiring freezes or layoffs in recent weeks.

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