Decrease in Unemployment Rate means Gradual Employment Growth

Employers added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate went down to 3.9 percent making the number of unemployed people decline by 284,000. At the end of July, the total number of people unemployed is now at $6.3 million.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.4 million, which accounts for 22.7 percent of the unemployed. In addition, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons—also referred to as involuntary part-time workers—changed slightly in July, at 4.6 million, but has been down by 669,000 over the course of the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because of their hours being reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

America increased employment in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care and social assistance sectors. In professional and business services, there was an increase of 51,000 jobs in July making an overall increase of 518,000 over the course of the year. In the manufacturing sector, there was 37,000 jobs added with most of the gain in durable goods. There was a rise in transportation equipment (+13,000), machinery (+6,000) and electronic instruments (+2,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 327,000 jobs in total. Lastly, employment in health care and social assistance rose by 34,000 and with an upward trend of +17,000  jobs in health care employment this past month, the number of jobs has totaled 286,000 since the beginning of the year. Hospitals and social assistance added 23,000 jobs during the month of July.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.65 in July.

Each year, the establishment survey estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release this preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision on August 22 at 10am.