The Labor Department’s newly released jobs report for July appeared to be good news for the economy — at first glance.

A dig below the surface, however, reveals a different picture: Americans, strapped for cash by inflation, taking on second jobs as families have less money to spend.

The economy added an unexpectedly high 528,000 jobs in July while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5%, according to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

As a result, total nonfarm employment and the unemployment rate both returned to their February 2020 levels under then-President Trump before the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Biden touted the jobs report as evidence that his economic policies are working.

“Today, the unemployment rate matches the lowest it’s been in more than 50 years: 3.5%,” Biden said in a statement. “More people are working than at any point in American history … and it’s the result of my economic plan to build the economy from the bottom up and middle out.”

Biden didn’t note in his comments that the other time in the past half-century that the unemployment rate was as low as 3.5% was under his predecessor.

The strong jobs numbers will give the president and his supporters ammunition to argue the economy is not in, or on the verge of, a recession, despite the U.S. experiencing two straight quarters of negative economic growth.

However, a key reason for the high number of new jobs added in July — one not being discussed by the White House or most media outlets — is that a significant number of Americans are getting part-time and/or second jobs.

In other words, while the overall jobs figures look encouraging, the underlying reality is that most aren’t full-time as families look for additional sources of income to weather historically high inflation.

From June to July, the labor force saw full-time jobs drop by 71,000, while part-time jobs and multiple jobholders increased by 384,000 and 92,000, respectively, according to the latest seasonally adjusted Labor Department data.

This trend of the economy dropping full-time jobs while adding second and part-time jobs has been accelerating since March.

American workers have been taking on second jobs as inflation continues to gnaw away at household budgets. Many people need the extra money just to pay for basic expenditures like food and gas.

Some 44% of Americans are working at least one extra job to make ends meet each month, according to a survey by Insuraranks, while 28% of respondents said they took on a secondary gig due to inflation.

Some observers have argued people holding multiple jobs is often a sign of them having more opportunities to pick up work. Others counter that the average person would only work multiple jobs because one job wasn’t providing them enough money.

Beyond additional second jobs, the July jobs report also reveals a declining labor force participation rate, the percentage of the population that is either working or actively looking for work.

That figure dropped to 62.1% in July, which is substantially lower than where it was on the eve of the pandemic, 63.4% in February 2020 — a point that experts noted is critical when comparing the current economy to where it was before COVID-19.

The labor force is 623,000 Americans short of the participation level observed in February 2020, and if the rate was at a similar level to the average that existed in the year before the pandemic, there would currently be 2.6 million more workers in the labor force, according to the American Action Forum.

New York Times reporter Ben Casselman described the dip in labor force participation as a “discouraging sign for those hoping the strong labor market would bring workers off the sidelines.”

Experts described the rate as “unfortunate” and a “warning,” since it’s falling most among the less educated and those who benefited the most from post-pandemic stimulus spending.

Adding to the problem is that workers’ wages, while on the rise, haven’t kept up with soaring inflation over the last several months. The result has been a decline in real wages, which haven’t increased enough to match how much prices have gone up.