The economy showed solid job growth in July while the unemployment rate remained steady.
According to the most recent monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the private sector netted 210,000 nonfarm job gains in July. Local, state and federal governments netted 5,000 job gains, resulting in 215,000 total net job gains.
The unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent from June, the lowest rate since April of 2008 when it was 5.0 percent.
The private sector has now gained nonfarm jobs for 65 consecutive months since the Great Recession. The unemployment rate has dropped 4.7 percentage points from the recessionary high of 10.0 percent in October 2009.
The BLS also revised job gains for May and June, showing that the economy netted 14,000 more jobs than the BLS had previously estimated for the months. After BLS revisions, net job gains have averaged 246,000 per month over the past year. That’s about double the number of monthly job gains required to keep up with U.S. population growth.
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The retail trade industry added 36,000 jobs in July, with motor vehicle and parts dealers netting 13,000 of those. General merchandise stores netted 6,000 jobs. The industry as a whole has netted 322,000 jobs over the past year.
At 28,000, job growth continued in health care. The industry has netted 436,000 jobs in the past year. Much of the industry’s steady job growth over the past few years, even throughout the Great Recession, is attributable to the increasing medical demands of aging baby boomers and the ever-growing obesity epidemic, and to provisions in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) as well.
Job growth also continued in the professional and business services industry at 27,000. Computer systems design and related services gained 9,000, and engineering services gained 6,000. The industry has added 301,000 jobs in the past year.
Manufacturing, an industry that economists consider to be a gauge of labor-market health, netted 15,000 jobs in July. Construction, also a measure of labor-market health, gained 6,000 jobs.
Among the major work groups tracked by the BLS, teenagers again suffered the highest unemployment rate (16.2 percent) followed by blacks (9.1), Hispanics (6.8), adult women (4.9), adult men (4.8), whites (4.6) and Asians (4.0, not seasonally adjusted). All groups but teenagers experienced little to no change in their unemployment rates. Teenagers experienced a 1.9 percent drop from June.
Workers who are 25 years of age or older and who have earned four-year college degrees or higher experienced a 2.6 percent unemployment rate in July, up from 2.5 in June. Those in the same age group and who don’t have high school diplomas suffered a much-higher 8.3 percent rate, up by 0.1 percent from June.
The unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent in July, mostly because the number of unemployed persons remained the same from June. The number of workers that the BLS counted as unemployed in July was 8.3 million. The number of unemployed workers has decreased by 1.4 million in 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 6.3 million, down from 6.5 million in June.
The average workweek for all part-timers and full-timers in the private sector edged up by 0.1 to 34.6 hours, after remaining at 34.5 hours from March through June. Their average hourly earnings rose by 5 cents to $24.99. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent in a year. Average hourly earnings rose by 3 cents to $21.01 for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees.
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 1.9 million, the same as in June. Among the marginally-attached, 668,000 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 by 15,000 from the 653,000 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 2.2 million in July, up a bit from 2.1 million in June. These workers accounted for 26.9 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed workers has declined by 986,000 over the past 12 months. Standard state unemployment benefits last only up to 26 weeks without extensions.
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 2015 unemployment rate and job numbers, see the “Employment Situation Summary” by the BLS. The BLS plans to report the August 2015 unemployment rate and job numbers on September 4. To receive notification like the above automatically, subscribe to Employee Rights Blog for free.
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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.