National unemployment rate falls for third straight month as economy adds 1.8 million jobs

By Derek Draplin | The Center Square

The nation’s unemployment rate continued to decline in July with 1.8 million jobs added, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The national unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in July, down from 11.1 percent in June, and 13.3 percent in May. The rate peaked in April at 14.7 percent as the economy was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 16.3 million unemployed people in July, down 1.4 million from the prior month, BLS said. In July, employers added 1.8 million jobs, lower than jobs added in June (4.8 million) and May (2.7 million).

The data indicates employers are continuing to rehire following massive layoffs since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

“These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” BLS said in a press release.

The BLS said the industries that saw the most employment gains were leisure and hospitality (592,000 jobs), food services and drinking (502,000), government (301,000), retail trade (258,000), professional and business services (170,000), other services (149,000), and health care (126,000).

President Donald Trump signed Congress’ $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus package in March that sent billions in payments directly to Americans and provided relief to businesses.

Congress and the White House are currently considering another stimulus bill package, but negotiations have reportedly stalled, USA Today reported.