The U.S. economy added nearly 950,000 jobs during the month of July, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly report -- soundly beating expectations on Wall Street.
The department said 943,000 positions were added for the month, and the national unemployment rate declined by a half-point to 5.4%.
Most analysts expected the report to show an addition of about 858,000 jobs.
The figure is a slight improvement over June, when close to 940,000 new jobs were added. Friday's report revised up June's report by about 90,000 jobs.
"Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in local government education and in professional and business services," the department said in the report.
"These measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However,they remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic."
The department said almost 400,000 of the new jobs came in the leisure and hospitality industry. More than 260,000 were in government and private education. Professional services added 60,000 and transportation and warehousing 50,000.
President Joe Biden will speak Friday morning about the labor report. He's scheduled to deliver remarks from the White House at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Earlier this week, ADP and Moody's Analytics reported that the private sector added about 330,000 jobs in July.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the COVID-19 pandemic is still having an impact on the job market in the United States.
"Factors related to the pandemic, such as care-giving needs, ongoing fears of the virus and unemployment insurance payments, appear to be weighing on employment growth," he said at a news conference.
"These factors should wane in coming months, leading to strong gains in employment."