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Unemployment falls to pre-pandemic levels

A help-wanted sign hangs in the front window of the Bar Harbor Tea Room, Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Bar Harbor, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(WASHINGTON) — Maybe we’re not in a recession.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in July, down from 3.6% in June and the lowest since February 2020.

The economy added an estimated 528-thousand jobs, well above market forecasts of 250-thousand and the 398-thousand added in June.

The numbers were boosted by added in the hospitality, food service and business services sectors.

Stock futures dropped on the news, with investors looking to see if strong job growth will lead the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates.

Wages were also up in July, with average earnings up a half-percent for the month and more than five percent from the same time last year.

This as inflation has seen prices skyrocket at a pace not seen since the early 1980s.