July Job Numbers Better Than Expected

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Private sector employers added 154,000 jobs in July, according to data released this morning by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the economy gained 117,000 jobs last month – private sector gains where offset by a loss of 37,000 government jobs, many due to the partial shutdown of the Minnesota state government.

That’s an improvement over June’s growth figures, when employers added just 46,000 jobs. However, the modest job creation rate is just about keeping up with population growth. The U.S. unemployment rate edged down from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent, but that’s because more people have stopped looking for work – just 58.1 percent of the American population is employed, the lowest percentage in decades.

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More than 44 percent of the unemployed – 6.2 million people – have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Unemployment rates are higher than the national average for teens (25 percent), blacks (15.9 percent) and Hispanics (11.3 percent).

Health care employment grew by 31,000 in July. Ambulatory health care services and hospitals each added 14,000 jobs over the month. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 299,000.

Retail trade added 26,000 jobs in July. Employment in health and personal care stores rose by 9,000 over the month with small increases distributed among several other retail industries. Employment in retail trade has increased by 228,000 since a recent low in December 2009.

Manufacturing employment increased in July (+24,000); nearly all of the increase was in durable goods manufacturing. Within durable goods, the motor vehicles and parts industry had fewer seasonal layoffs than typical for July, contributing to a seasonally adjusted employment increase of 12,000. Manufacturing has added 289,000 jobs since its most recent trough in December 2009, and durable goods manufacturing added 327,000 jobs during this period.

In July, employment in mining rose by 9,000; virtually all of the gain (+8,000) occurred in support activities for mining. Employment in mining has increased by 140,000 since a recent low in October 2009.

Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in July (+18,000). This industry has added 246,000 jobs since a recent low in March 2010. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month and has shown little movement on net so far this year.

Elsewhere in the private sector, employment in construction, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality changed little over the month.


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