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“Everything about the economy over the last 2 1/2 years has been extremely unusual, and it continues to be.”

Harvard economist Jason Furman on new jobs data released by the government, showing a stronger-than-expected labor market in the United States.

Published on

jul 8, 2022

Why It Matters: Amid 40-year-high inflation and concerns about the U.S. economy falling into a recession, the new jobs data for June reflects a stronger-than-expected labor market, leading to questions about whether the U.S. economy will enter a recession (when an economy contracts instead of growing, and there is a significant decline of economic activity spanning over several months). The Associated Press describes the contrast between the unanticipated labor market growth and overall weaker economy observed in previous months: "The contrasting picture suggests an economy at a crossroads."

Here's a few highlights from the new jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The U.S. economy added 372,000 jobs in June — more than economists expected amid multiple factors, including high inflation — and aligned with the job growth seen in the previous two months. Overall, however, this figure is still down slightly from pre-pandemic job levels in February 2020.
    • Reminder: "Inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a given currency over time" (Investopedia). As inflation increases, your dollar buys you less.
  • Significant job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, healthcare, and in professional and business services.
  • The unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6% for the "fourth month in a row, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged." This rate is consistent with "a near-50-year-low that was reached before the pandemic struck in early 2020" (Associated Press).

A robust June jobs report clouds outlook for US economy (Associated Press)

What recession? Jobs numbers point to solid growth (Axios)

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