The U.S. economy added over 900,000 jobs in July, exceeding expectations and making for the strongest report since last summer.
The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls rose by 943,000 in July, as the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, CNBC reports. This was higher than the roughly 845,000 new jobs that had been predicted by economists, who also forecast an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent. It was also the biggest gain in jobs since August 2020, according to CNN.
"This is an unambiguously positive report," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark M. Zandi, said, per The Washington Post. "It's consistent with a booming economy, and economy that's roaring back from the pandemic recession."
The strong numbers come amid growing concerns over the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 in the United States. The survey that the jobs report was based on was taken in the middle of July, before some restrictions like mask mandates began to be reimposed again, The Wall Street Journal notes.
"Overall, the labor market appears to be making steady progress towards recovery," Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao wrote. "However, storm clouds are on the horizon with outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant rapidly spreading."