America’s private employers in July added 943,000 jobs—a proxy for new hires—in a sign that the U.S. economy enjoyed a solid burst of job growth as the labor market recovery continues.
Ahead of the release, economists’ estimates varied widely—from 350,000 to as much as 1.6 million, according to a Reuters review of institutional forecasts.
Driving the uncertainty are the dynamics of the pandemic, particularly the spread of the Delta variant of the CCP virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines.
But while the resurgence in COVID-19 infections poses a risk to economic recovery, there’s no sign yet of any significant impact.
“While the Delta variant has sparked a rise in COVID cases, there’s scant indication this is translating to a measurable reduction in economic activity in the U.S. so far, suggesting little meaningful impact on employment,” Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.
While economic output has fully bounced back to its pre-pandemic levels, the labor market recovery is trailing. After shedding over 22 million jobs in the first two months of the pandemic, the U.S. economy has since recovered nearly 17 million jobs.
The Labor Department’s jobs report also showed that the unemployment rate dropped by 0.5 percentage points to 5.4 percent in July, while the total number of unemployed persons fell by 782,000 to 8.7 million.
While these measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February–April 2020 recession, they remain well above their pre-pandemic levels of 3.5 percent and 5.7 million in February 2020, the Labor Department said.
By Tom Ozimek