Gains in jobs top ex­pec­ta­tions but lag re­cent months

Chicago Sun-Times - - BUSINESS -

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.

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