President Joe Biden touted U.S. job growth after the release of the recent jobs report. “More people are working than at any point in American history,” proclaimed Biden. He explained that the job numbers prove he has kept his campaign promise to “rebuild the middle class.”
Job growth unexpectedly accelerated in July, with employers adding 528,000 jobs, the Labor Department said in its monthly jobs report. The number blew past the forecast 250,000 jobs forecast by Refinitiv economists. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5%, the lowest level since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic over two years ago.
“Today, the unemployment rate matches the lowest it’s been in more than 50 years: 3.5%. More people are working than at any point in American history,” Biden said in a statement. “That’s millions of families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides.”
The president continued, “And, it’s the result of my economic plan to build the economy from the bottom up and middle out. I ran for president to rebuild the middle class — there’s more work to do. Still, today’s jobs report shows we are making significant progress for working families.”
The job growth defied economists’ fears of a hiring slowdown. At the same time, the labor market confronts twin threats of rising interest rates and soaring inflation. According to the report, the U.S. has replaced all jobs lost during the pandemic.
Broad-based job gains in July
July job gains were broad-based, with hospitality and leisure leading the way in hiring, by adding 96,000 new workers. Professional business services followed this at 89,000 jobs, 70,000 health care jobs, and 57,000 government jobs. Construction contributed an additional 32,000 jobs and 30,000 manufacturing jobs.
The hiring uptick comes amid the growing consensus that the economy is losing momentum as the Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates at the briskest pace in decades to wrangle inflation under control. According to a recently-released Commerce Department report, the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of services and goods produced in the nation, shrank 0.6% from April to June.
This shrinkage followed a decline of 1.6% in the first three months of the year, with the back-to-back quarterly declines in Gross Domestic Product, the economic criteria for a recession. Many economists have argued the solid jobs market has so far averted a downward slide in U.S. job growth; however, momentum is expected to noticeably cool in the coming months as companies begin cutting staff to accommodate lower demand.