U.S. Economy Beats Forecasts, Adds 1.8 million Jobs in July

The US economy added jobs for a third straight month in July as the nation attempts to reopen and claw back from the devastating coronavirus recession.

American businesses added 1.8 million nonfarm payrolls during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That exceeded the 1.5 million payroll additions expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The US unemployment rate came in at 10.2%, the BLS said, lower than the 10.6% expected by economists. It was also down from 11.1% in May. April’s 14.7% reading was the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Employment ticked up across most industries and sectors, according to the Friday report. The biggest gain was in leisure and hospitality, which rose 529,000 in July, accounting for one third of the gain in payrolls during the month.

Retail trade, professional and business services, health care, social assistance, manufacturing, and transportation jobs also gained in July. Construction jobs were little changed from a month earlier, and mining was the only sector to shed jobs in the period.

People on temporary layoff decreased by 1.3 million in July, and is now 9.2 million, roughly half the April level. Permanent job losses were little changed from the previous month, standing at 2.9 million in July. The level of permanent job losses is important to watch as the coronavirus pandemic recession continues — those who are not on temporary layoff have a harder time finding new employment.