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Job market defies expectations with blockbuster growth in July

We’ve all heard plenty of talk about a possible recession, but at least for now, there’s no evidence of it in the surprisingly resilient U.S. job market.


Expectations heading into this morning showed projections of about 258,000 new jobs added in the United States in July. As it turns out, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the preliminary tally suggests the domestic job market did much better than that. CNBC reported this morning:

Hiring in July was far better than expected, defying signs that the economic recovery is losing steam, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose 528,000 for the month and the unemployment rate was 3.5%, easily topping the Dow Jones estimates of 258,000 and 3.6% respectively.

The nation’s 3.5 percent unemployment rate is the lowest since President Joe Biden took office, and it now equals the rate from before the start of the economic crisis created by the Covid pandemic. All told, the U.S. economy has now gained back all of its pandemic job losses — and it’s happened faster than hardly anyone thought possible a year ago.

Adding to the good news, the revisions on job totals from May and June were both revised up a bit.

So far in 2022, the economy has created 3.3 million jobs, and that’s after just seven months. By any fair measure, that’s an extraordinary total, more in line with what we’d expect to see in a full year.

We’ve all heard plenty of talk about a possible recession, but at least for now, there’s no evidence of it in the surprisingly resilient U.S. job market.

As for the politics, let’s circle back to previous coverage to put the data in perspective. Over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term — when the then-Republican president said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet — the economy created roughly 6.4 million jobs. This included all of 2017, 2018, and 2019.

According to the latest tally, since January 2021, the U.S. economy created 10 million jobs — far in excess of the combined total of Trump’s first three years. In fact, this year’s total to date exceeds any individual year of the former president’s term.

In recent months, Republicans have responded to developments like these by pretending not to notice them. I have a hunch GOP officials will keep the trend going today.

Postscript: For some additional context, consider job growth by year over the last decade:

2013: 2.3 million

2014: 3 million

2015: 2.7 million

2016: 2.3 million

2017: 2.1 million

2018: 2.3 million

2019: 2 million

2020: -9.3 million

2021: 6.7 million

2022 (so far): 3.3 million

In early 2020, such a turnaround would’ve been very difficult to believe. And yet, here we are.