US employers added 943,000 jobs in July, signaling a strong labor market
Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

US employers added 943,000 jobs in July, signaling a strong labor market

The US economy added 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% — a new low of the pandemic era — the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

It was the biggest job gain since August last year, when more than 1 million positions were added back, and more than the 870,000 economists had expected.

The June jobs gains was revised up as well, to 938,000 positions added, showing the recovery’s strong pace over the summer.

Since May 2020, America has added back 16.7 million jobs. But it’s still 5.7 million short of its pre-pandemic level.

The hospitality and leisure industries — decimated by lockdown measures last year — were once again the biggest contributors of job gains, accounting for more than a third of the total. Some 253,000 jobs were added in restaurants and bars alone last month.

Hiring also picked up in eduction, according to the seasonally adjusted data. But the labor bureau warned that because hiring and layoffs in education were so distorted by the pandemic, the adjusted data might overstate the hiring in July.

Average hourly earnings rose for the fourth month in a row, adding 11 cents to $30.54, as the high demand for workers is pressuring companies to pay more to attract staff.

But there’s a new hurdle in its path: The Covid-19 Delta variant has brought back restrictions on public life in some places in the nation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance for those who have been vaccinated.

So far, the increased virus spread from Delta has not weighed on the jobs data much, but that could change in the next reports.

This is a developing story. It will be updated

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