By Tom Burnett CFA
On August 6, 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the employment picture for July 2021. The Report was positive and job growth has continued to come through since the worst parts of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020. Total employment in July increased by 943,000 jobs, following a similar expansion in May and June. In fact, the May-June figures were revised upward by a total of 119,000.
In July, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.9% in the previous month. The number of unemployed workers fell from 9.5 million to 8.7 million. In February 2020, before the impact of the Covid outbreak, the rate was 3.5% and the number of unemployed workers was just 5.7 million. Essentially, the employed figure reached a maximum of 158 million, before declining to 135 million at the worst point of the Covid-induced recession. The economy has now made back almost 17 million of the 23 million lost jobs caused by the recession.
Manufacturing jobs rose 27,000 in July, but remain 433,000 below the February 2020 peak level. Average hourly earnings rose by $0.11 to $30.54, the fourth monthly increase in a row.
The next employment report will be issued on September 3, 2021.
Tom Burnett CFA is Director of Research