Restaurants, bars, hotels stage summer comeback
Economy adds nearly 1 million jobs for second straight month
It’s a hot, hot summer for the nation’s labor market.
Restaurants, bars and hotels powered private-sector job gains for a second straight month, calling back 327,000 workers in July — more than any other non-governmental sector, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Labor.
The leisure and hospitality industry accounted for 54 percent of all private-sector job growth last month, adding 380,000 jobs to the economy.
Nearly 1 million people returned to work for the second straight month, with employers hiring 943,000 workers in July. The government revised its June estimate of job growth from 850,000 to 938,000 positions.
“Although there are concerns regarding the impact of the Delta variant, these data show an economy that was continuing to recover,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Employment in the real estate industry, which grew by 17,800 jobs last month, outpaced the more modest 11,000 jobs gained in construction. Residential homebuilding accounted for 75 percent of jobs gains in the industry, even as builders have had to pay more for materials.
“This bodes well for increased homebuilding,” said Fratantoni, “which the housing market desperately needs, given the lack of inventory.”
The run-up of lumber prices has stopped, which will help homebuilders pad their bottom line as they are unlikely to pass lower costs onto buyers.
Retail was an exception to the growth trend. It shed 5,500 jobs last month, although that is a tiny fraction of the more than 15 million people the industry employs.
The return to the office inched forward last month, with 13.2 percent of workers teleworking in July because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 14.4 percent in June, according to the Department of Labor.