The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, fewer than the job gains in May and June, and the latest sign that hiring has slowed during a resurgent coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The Labor Department reported Friday that although the jobless rate in fell from 11.1% to 10.2% in July, it is still higher than it was at its peak during the 2008-2009 Great Recession.
Friday’s report reflects employers’ apparent reluctance or inability to hire workers as a second wave of coronavirus infections in the U.S. surged in June and more than doubled by mid-July, forcing them to close their businesses again.
Even after the job gains over the past three months, the Labor Department said the U.S. economy has recouped only an estimated 42% of the 22 million jobs that were lost to the recession sparked by the coronavirus crisis.
The job gains in July were far fewer than the 4.8 million added in June and the 2.7 million in May, slowing an economic recovery.
The recession, also fueled by cuts in consumer spending and corporate investment, caused the U.S. economy to contract at a nearly 33% annual rate in the second quarter, the sharpest quarterly decline on record.
While many economists predict the U.S. economy will show solid growth in the third quarter, they do not expect it to expand enough to offset its sharp contraction in the second quarter.