The U.S. Economy added 528,000 jobs in July, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department. The jobless rate also returned to its pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent, a 50-year low for unemployment.
Friday’s employment snapshot marks the 19th consecutive month of job growth, a stunning gain that defied predictions of a slowdown.
The massive jobs gain surprised economists who expected the U.S. would add roughly 250,000 jobs in July and keep the jobless rate at 3.6 percent, according to consensus estimates released before the report.
But the economy added more than double the number of jobs experts predicted, even as consumer confidence plunged and gross domestic product shrank over the first half of the year.
The resilience of the labor market also means the Federal Reserve may have more room — or at least feel more pressure — to rapidly raise interest rates and fight inflation without fears of triggering steep job losses.
This is a developing story and will be updated.