Prior to this morning’s release of the monthly Employment Situation Summary, economists were predicting the addition of 180,000 jobs to public and private payrolls. The report from the Labor Department beat expectations, coming in at 255,000 jobs added. Unemployment stayed steady at 4.9 percent.
“The July employment report is very broadly positive,” said Harry Holzer, former Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Labor and author of Where Are All The Good Jobs Going?, in a statement. “Payroll jobs rose by 255,000, after the outstanding number of 292,000 in June; the 3-month average is now 190,000, which is much higher than previously anticipated. Labor force participation edged up slightly, to a recent high of 62.8%. Since most of the new workers were employed, the unemployment rate held steady. And wages posted increases of nearly 4% on an annualized basis.”
Economists and workers alike have been eyeing wage growth, which has stagnated since the end of the recession. Average earnings for private employees grew 8 cents an hour in July to $25.69. Average hourly earnings have increased 2.6 percent over the course of the year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The PayScale Index, which tracks earnings for employed U.S. workers, forecasts 1.6 percent year-over-year growth for the third quarter of 2016.
The unemployment rate and the number of unemployed workers were essentially unchanged last month, although the number of newly unemployed workers (those who have been out of work for five weeks or less) decreased by 258,000.
The number of long-term unemployed and those marginally attached to the labor force were largely unchanged in July at 2 million each.
Job gains centered in professional and business services (+70,000 jobs), leisure and hospitality (+45,000 jobs), healthcare (+43,000 jobs), government (+38,000 jobs), and financial activities (+18,000 jobs).
Mining declined by 6,000 jobs last month, while other industries were essentially unchanged, including manufacturing, construction, retail trade, wholesale trade, and information.
Job gains have averaged 190,000 per month for the past three months, when revisions to previous reports are figured in. Employment for May was revised upward from 11,000 to 24,000 jobs added, while June’s numbers rose from 287,000 to 292,000 jobs added.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you seen your wages increase this year? Talk to us on Twitter or leave a comment.