US job growth surges in July with half a million new positions

Unemployment rate drops to 50-year low

The US economy added 528,000 jobs in July, data from the Labour Department showed. AFP
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US job growth surged in July, as the economy added 528,000 positions, defying all expectations of a slowdown, official data released on Friday showed.

“That’s millions of families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheque provides,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement.

“There’s more work to do, but today’s jobs report shows we are making significant progress for working families.”

Non-farm payrolls jumped 528,000 in July, data from the Labour Department showed. Employment in the month before was revised up to a 398,000 gain. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 per cent, matching a five-decade low.

Meanwhile, wages rose last month, with average earnings jumping by 0.5 per cent in July.

The Federal Reserve announced historic interest rate increases to cool the economy amid the highest rise in costs in more than 40 years.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said another large increase could be appropriate as it looks to calm inflation without driving the economy into a recession.

Mr Powell and the White House have pushed back against the notion that the US entered a “technical recession” after data in July showed gross domestic product had shrunk for a second consecutive quarter.

The White House has frequently pointed to other economic factors such as the labour market as to why the US is not in a recession. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said a true recession shows a “broad-based weakening of the economy”.

Total non-farm employment has also recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the data showed.

Hiring was robust in leisure and hospitality and health care, which each added 96,000 jobs or more, while manufacturing and construction gained 32,000 or more.

Builders have struggled for months to find workers to meet high demand for construction, but employment in the sector is now back to its pre-pandemic levels, the report said.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: August 05, 2022, 2:27 PM