Job creation trumped estimates in July as the economy added 255,000 positions over the 180,000 that were anticipated and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent. The dismal numbers reported for May were revised from 11,000 to 24,000 and June also received a gain in employment numbers increasing from 287,000 to 292,000. With these two revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 18,000 more than previously reported.
Job gains in July occurred in professional and business services which led the way with 70,000 new positions – these would include jobs such as computer systems design, architectural and engineering services, as well as management and technical consulting services. Health care rose by 43,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services, hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities. Financial jobs increased by 18,000 and leisure and hospitality continued to be a big contributor to job growth, adding 45,000 jobs while Government employment edged up by 38,000.
Job losses continued in mining and logging with a loss of 6,000 jobs, and employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail and information, showed little to no change.
Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, changed little with 591,000 discouraged workers in July – these are individuals not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available. The number of unemployed persons was unchanged at 7.8 million and has shown little movement since August of last year. Meanwhile, hourly wages increased again in July by 8 cents to $25.69, with average hourly earnings rising 2.6 percent since the beginning of the year.
Buoyant job numbers challenge the idea that the U.S. recovery is faltering and indicates that the slowdown in hiring earlier in the year has been reversed. It also suggests that the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates before the end of the year. We’ve seen the monthly jobs report