over 3 years ago • 2 mins
Even with the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the US, the country’s labor market continued to strengthen in July with the addition of 1.8 million jobs – around 20% more than expected 🇺🇸 A third of those gains were in the leisure and hospitality industry as the economy started to reopen over the summer and workers got back to business. The unemployment rate fell by more than expected too, but it’s worth putting all this into perspective: the total number of unemployed Americans is still languishing at 16.3 million.
With the number of employed Americans still 13 million shy of pre-pandemic levels in February, US lawmakers are still trying to hash out what would be the fifth rescue package since the pandemic began. But precise details of the aid package remain up in the air, and talks seem to have ground to a halt 🛑 And that could spell trouble further down the road: reduced unemployment benefits means reduced consumer spending – the biggest contributor to the US economy.
The positive jobs report didn’t do much to move US stocks, which are now only 1% below their record highs. And that’s despite escalating US-China tensions and the uncertainty around the upcoming presidential election. There may be a good reason for that: the market rebound since March has been led by a handful of tech stocks that have benefited from the pandemic 📈 Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google-owner Alphabet are now the five biggest stocks in the US, and collectively make up almost a quarter of the S&P 500 – the most popular US stock market index.
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