Gains in jobs top expectations but lag recent months
WASHINGTON — U.S. hiring slowed in July as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, and the government’s jobs report offered signs Friday that the economic damage from the pandemic could last far longer than many envisioned.
The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, a pullback from the previous two months. At any other time, hiring at that level would be seen as a blowout gain. But after employers shed a staggering 22 million jobs in March and April, much larger increases are needed to heal the job market.
Though the unemployment rate fell from 11.1% to 10.2%, that level still exceeds the highest rate during the 20082009 Great Recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 eked out small gains Friday, while tech stocks fell.
“Yes, future employment data will likely slow due to more COVID-19 restrictions, but for now you have to be quite impressed with how far we’ve come the last few months,” Ryan Detrick, chief investment strategist for LPL Financial, said in a statement.
Nevertheless, “What is concerning is that the rate of improvement, without a significant vaccine breakthrough, will continue to be more modest and deliberate from here,” Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income, said in a statement.