Unemployment Falls To 7.4% Despite Slow Job Growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added just 162,000 jobs in July – its smallest gain since March – and growth for May and June was revised downward by 26,000 jobs from previously reported numbers, yet the nation’s unemployment rate fell from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent.

The data was released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported employment gains in the retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities, and wholesale trade sectors.

The number of long-term unemployed people (those who have not had a job for 27 weeks or more) has not changed significantly since May. At 4.2 million people, these individuals accounted for 37 percent of the total unemployed.

The employment-population ratio, which measures the proportion of the nation’s working-age population that is employed, remained at 58.7 percent, and has not risen above 59 percent since the summer of 2009. Prior to that, the employment-population ratio had not been below 59 percent since January 1984.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

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