Of the 943,000 jobs added in July, more than 40 percent were in the leisure and hospitality sector, with 380,000 new positions, according to the Friday (Aug. 6) Economic Situation Summary report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As the world reopens post-pandemic — and even despite the emerging Delta variant — hotels and restaurants are flourishing, growing staff as an increasing number of people seek indoor dining and hotel getaways. The increases, however, are still below the 1.7 million jobs seen in pre-pandemic February 2020.
The seesaw unemployment numbers in the past few weeks are officially at the lowest levels seen since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation in March 2020. New jobless claims have largely improved beyond forecasts.
July payrolls expanded the most since August 2020, with June’s number’s upwardly revised from 850,000 to 938,000. Median hourly pay was also up 0.4 percent instead of the 0.3 percent forecast, according to the BLS report.
Despite the good news, the U.S. economy is still clawing its way back after more than a year of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns. The economy lost 5.7 million jobs during the pandemic, with 2 million positions vanishing in the leisure and hospitality sector.
However, it’s the leisure and hospitality sector that is bringing back the most jobs per July’s numbers, a sector largely composed of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). July payrolls also got a boost from employment in the education and health services segment, as well as government jobs, which were up 240,000 last month.
“Staffing fluctuations in education due to the pandemic have distorted the normal seasonal buildup and layoff patterns, likely contributing to the job gains in July,” the BLS report indicated. “These variations make it more challenging to discern the current employment trends in these education industries.”
Trade and transport also saw a 47,000 boost, while manufacturing increased 27,000, construction also posted an increase in payrolls. Retail, however, lost 6,000 jobs, per the BLS report.