U.S. job growth ballooned by 528,000 positions in July, far exceeding expectations. Overall employment back to levels not seen since February 2020. Job increases were widespread and led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care.

Both total nonfarm employment and the unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.5% in July, have returned to their pre-pandemic levels. The surprisingly robust employment numbers are likely to incite the Federal Reserve to continue its streak of hefty benchmark interest rate hikes as the monetary body struggles to tamp down the economy and quell inflation.

U.S. employment returned to pre-pandemic levels in July. Utah has been far ahead of the national curve and regained all of its pandemic-related job losses by December 2020 after hitting an employment low in April of that year. The labor sector has almost two openings for every currently unemployed worker.

The national workforce is up against a demographic shift that’s seeing older workers vacating jobs. “We’re seeing a huge quantity of older workers, baby boomers, leaving the labor force without an equal number of younger workers coming in behind them,” Knold said.

U.S. employment is back to pre-pandemic levels, but its still falling short of feeding the needs of a still-hot economy. Knold said the labor demographic dilemma is being exacerbated by continued high levels of consumer spending that’s pushing companies to produce more.
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