Nonfarm Payroll Employment Up; Unemployment Drops to 5.4% July 2021

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today (8-6-21) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 943,000 in July, following a 938,000 increase in June, 559,000 increase in May, disappointing increase of 278,999 in April, and surge of 785,000 in March. Nonfarm payroll employment in July is up by 16.7 million since April 2020 but is down by -5.7 million, or -3.7%, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. In July, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in local government education, and in professional and business services. In July, the unemployment rate declined by -0.5% to 5.4%, and the number of unemployed persons fell by -782,000 to 8.7 million. These measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain well above their levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020). The BLS is reporting that employment showed little change in construction and wholesale trade in July.

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