U.S. job growth slowed a bit in July, but it was still pretty good. The unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percent from June, but that was mostly because more unemployed workers started looking for jobs.
According to the most recent monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the private sector netted 198,000 nonfarm job gains while local, state, and federal governments netted 11,000. The total net job gain in July was 209,000. The July unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, up slightly from 6.1 percent in June. Economists polled by Reuters expected 233,000 job gains and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.1 percent.
The private sector has gained nonfarm jobs for 53 consecutive months since the Great Recession. The U.S. economy has created over 200,000 jobs per month for six consecutive months, the longest such streak since 1997.
The BLS upwardly revised net job gains for May and June, showing that the economy gained 15,000 more jobs than it had previously reported. The average job gain in each month for the past twelve is 209,000, the same as July’s job gain.
At 47,000, job growth continued in the professional and business services industry. Architectural and engineering services gained 9,000 of those, while temporary help services (“temp workers”) gained 8,500. The industry as a whole has netted 648,000 jobs over the past year.
Manufacturing, an industry that economists consider to be a gauge of labor market health, netted 28,000 job gains in July. Motor vehicles and parts gained 15,000 of those. Manufacturing has added 144,000 jobs in the past year, primarily in durable goods industries.
The retail trade industry gained 27,000 jobs. Hiring continued to trend up at automobile dealers, food and beverage stores, and general merchandise stores. The industry has netted 298,000 job gains in the past year.
Employment in the construction industry continued to trend upward in July, with 22,000 net job gains.
Among the major work groups tracked by the BLS, teenagers again suffered the highest unemployment rate (20.2 percent) followed by blacks (11.4), Hispanics (7.8), adult women (5.7), adult men (5.7), whites (5.3) and Asians (4.5, not seasonally adjusted). Adult women and blacks experienced increases in July after declines in June. All other groups showed little or no change.
Workers who are 25 years of age or older and who have earned four-year college degrees or higher experienced a 3.1 percent unemployment rate in July, down from 3.3 in June. Those in the same age group and who don’t have high school diplomas suffered a 9.6 percent rate, up from 9.1 in June.
The unemployment rate climbed slightly in July mostly because 3,935,000 unemployed workers entered or re-entered the workforce (started looking for jobs), which was 164,000 more than in June.
Excluding last month when it was 0.1 percentage point lower, July’s unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is the lowest it’s been since October 2008. Back then it was 6.5 percent and skyrocketing toward the recessionary-high of 10.0 percent (see chart to your left). The pre-recession normal rate according to economists was around 5 percent.
For the BLS to count workers as unemployed (to calculate the unemployment rate), they must be actively seeking jobs in the four weeks preceding the count. The BLS counted 9.7 million workers as unemployed in July, up from 9.5 in June. The number of unemployed workers has declined by 1.7 million over the past year.
The count of unemployed workers does not include those who are involuntarily working only part time and with fewer benefits, if any, such as no health insurance, because they can’t find full-time jobs or employers cut their work hours. The number of involuntarily part-timers in July was 7.5 million, the same as in June.
The average workweek for both part-timers and full-timers was 34.5 hours in July, the same as it was in the prior four months. Average hourly earnings edged up by 1 cent to $24.45. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.0 percent in a year.
The unemployment rate also does not include “marginally-attached” unemployed workers. The BLS does not count them in the official rate because they stopped looking for work in the four weeks preceding the count, for reasons such as school attendance, family matters or their collective perception that there simply are no jobs.
The number of marginally-attached workers in July was 2.2 million, up from 2.0 million in June. Among the marginally-attached, 741,000 were so-called “discouraged workers” because they gave up looking for work due to their shared perception that there are no jobs — at least not for them. The number of discouraged workers was up from the 676,000 that the BLS initially reported for June. (The BLS does not seasonally adjust any of the figures in this paragraph.)
The number of long-term unemployed workers, those who have been without jobs for 27 weeks or longer, was 3.2 million in July, up slightly from 3.1 million in June. These workers accounted for 32.9 percent of the unemployed. Standard state unemployment benefits last only up to 26 weeks without extensions.
Congressional Republicans have refused to pass a bill to further extend federal unemployment benefits in 2014. See the blog “Unemployment Benefit Extensions 2013 – Updated for 2014” for details.
If you are a recent victim of job loss or a reduction in work hours resulting from the high unemployment rate, then you might be eligible to collect full or partial unemployment benefits from the state unemployment office. You might also be eligible to continue your employer-provided group health insurance coverage through COBRA.
For more details about the July 2014 unemployment rate and job numbers, see the “Employment Situation Summary” by the BLS. The BLS plans to report the August unemployment rate on September 5. To receive notification like the above automatically, subscribe to Employee Rights Blog for free.
– – –
Certain figures in this unemployment rate report were rounded and/or seasonally adjusted by the BLS, and are subject to revision by same (based on additional data that was not initially available). The unemployment rate chart pictured above was provided by the BLS.