Defying anxiety about a possible recession and raging inflation, America’s employers added a stunning 528,000 jobs last month, restoring all the jobs lost in the coronavirus recession. Unemployment fell to 3.5%, lowest since the pandemic struck in early 2020.
July’s job creation was 130,000 more than those produced in June, and the most since February.
The red-hot jobs numbers from the Labor Department on Friday arrive amid a growing consensus that the US economy is losing momentum. The economy shrank in the first two quarters of 2022 — an informal definition of recession. But most economists believe the strong jobs market has kept the economy from slipping into a downturn.
Friday’s surprisingly strong report will undoubtedly intensify the debate over whether America is in a recession or not.
“Recession – what recession?” wrote Brian Coulton, chief economist at Fitch Ratings, after the numbers came out. “The US economy is creating new jobs at an annual rate of 6 million – that’s three times faster than what we normally see historically in a good year. ‘’
Economists had expected only 250,000 new jobs this month.
There are, of course, political implications in the jobs numbers Friday: Americans have grown increasingly anxious about rising prices and the risk of recession. It most certainly be at the forefront of the minds of voters during November’s midterm elections as President Joe Biden’s Democrats seek to maintain control of Congress.