August 10, 2020 — Jobless Rate Falls to 10.2% in July


The US economy added 1.763 million jobs in July, which lowered the overall unemployment rate to 10.2 percent, versus 11.1 percent in June; expectations were exceeded as an increase of 1.48 million jobs and a 10.6 percent unemployment rate were predicted.  Even though numbers are up, payroll growth did slow in July as the coronavirus continued to hamper the recovery.  An alternative measure of unemployment, that includes discouraged workers and the underemployed, fell from 18 percent to 16.5 percent.

May and June saw a combined increase of more than 7.5 million jobs, the fastest two-month rise in US history. The gains were, primarily, the return of displaced workers who were laid off as a result of the pandemic.  The July jobs report confirms new virus cases caused the recovery to slow, but emphasized it has not gone into reverse. With virus cases trending lower again, employment should continue to tick up over the coming months.

Even with a three-month cumulative gain of 9.3 million workers, either getting new jobs or returning to their old jobs, the total employment level remains 12.9 million below its February pre-virus level.  We are not out of the woods yet, but we are happy for all good news.