US employment numbers defy skeptics, still prepaid bill climbing as inflation fears deepen

WASHINGTON — America’s hiring boom continued last month as employers added a surprising 528,000 jobs despite raging inflation and rising anxiety about a recession. June’s hiring was up from 398,000 in June. The unemployment rate slipped to 3.5%. The U.S. economy shrank in the first two quarters of 2023 — an informal definition of recession. But most economists believe the strong jobs market has kept the economy from slipping into a downturn. The American job market has repeatedly defied skeptics this year.