US job growth rises by half a million in July

Washington: US job growth surged in July as the economy added a surprise 528,000 jobs, beating all expectations of a slowdown, according to official data on Friday.

Even the White House had agreed with most economists that the surge would slow to just 250,000 a month, which President Joe Biden said was part of the natural slowdown following the world’s largest economy’s rapid recovery from the pandemic downturn.

Meanwhile, wages have soared – with an average hourly wage of 15 cents from June – which will certainly add to inflation concerns as the Federal Reserve aggressively hikes interest rates to cool the economy amid the biggest gains in more than 40 years.

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Widespread job gains helped push the unemployment rate back to its pre-pandemic low of 3.5 percent, the Labor Department reported. And June’s outsized job gains have been revised upwards.

Total nonfarm payrolls also recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the data showed.

Hiring was strong in leisure and hospitality and healthcare, each adding 96,000 or more, while manufacturing and construction added 32,000 or more.

Builders have struggled for months to find workers to meet high construction demand, but employment in the industry is now back to pre-pandemic levels, the report said.