Skip nav to main content.

July Job Gains Stronger than Expected

The economy added 1.8 million jobs in July, while the unemployment rate fell to 10.2…

  • August 19, 2020

The economy added 1.8 million jobs in July, while the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent, according to the Labor Department. This is more than economists were expecting, and signals the third straight month of strong job gains since the lockdown ended.

These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.

Still, the gains in July fell far short of the 2.7 million regained in May and the 4.8 million added in June.

In July, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care.

Of note, the number of unemployed persons who were on temporary layoff decreased by 1.3 million in July to 9.2 million, about half its April level. In July, the number of permanent job losers and the number of unemployed reentrants to the labor force were virtually unchanged over the month, at 2.9 million and 2.4 million, respectively.

Among the unemployed, those who were jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 364,000 to 3.2 million in July, and the number of persons jobless 15 to 26 weeks rose by 4.6 million to 6.5 million. By contrast, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless 5 to 14 weeks fell by 6.3 million to 5.2 million.

The labor force participation rate, at 61.4 percent, changed little in July, following increases in May and June.