July 2021 Jobs Report: Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Since Pre-Pandemic

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U.S. employers surprised many by adding significantly more jobs than expected in July 2021 – adding 943,000 jobs in July – according to a monthly report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Contrary to what experts predicted to be 5.7%, the unemployment rate fell even further to 5.4%, a positive fall from June 2021.

Labor force participation increased to 61.7%, as did payroll gains in industries such as health services, transportation, warehousing, manufacturing, and business services. In addition, the number of individuals classified under long-term unemployment or unemployed for 27 weeks or more dropped by 560,000 in July – the biggest decline in recorded history.

Employers in the United States have steadfastly regained momentum in hiring that was lost in 2020, but experts fear the rising caseloads of the COVID-19 Delta variant may quickly halt their progress if additional restrictions and safety measures are put in place in workplaces. Several companies have already retracted return-to-office plans for late summer or delayed them to late fall and early 2022.

Despite uncertainty on the horizon, economists still anticipate improvement for the U.S. job market as it steadily recovers from its historic drop in spring 2020.

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