16 June 2019

Economy Gains 209,000 Jobs in July

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The unemployment rate rose to 6.2% from 6.1%, the Labor Department said Friday, as 329,000 Americans, including many who had given up their job searches, surged back into the labor force. Economists had estimated that 238,000 jobs were created last month. Although July's gains fell short of estimates and average monthly job growth of nearly 230,000 so far this year, it marked the sixth straight month of 200,000-plus employment increases — the longest such stretch since 1997.

Businesses added 198,000 jobs, led by professional and business services, manufacturing, retail and construction. Federal, state and local governments added 11,000. Job gains for May and June were revised up by a total 15,000. May's was revised to 229,000 from 224,000 and June's to 298,000 from 288,000.

Economists expect continued solid job growth the rest of the year, though many companies remain cautious because of overseas political turmoil and concerns about the new health care law. In July, professional and business services led the job gains, with 47,000. Manufacturers added 28,000; retailers, 27,000; construction, 22,000; and leisure and hospitality, 21,000.

Healthy payroll advances in manufacturing and construction — middle-income sectors that each lost about 2 million jobs in the recession — are encouraging signs. Some other labor market indicators were mixed. The number of Americans out of work at least six months rose by 74,000 to 3.2 million. The long-term unemployed still make up 33% of all the jobless.

Over the past year, wages have risen 2%, in line with the modest increases so far in the five-year-old recovery. Economists expect pay hikes to pick up in the second half of the year, with industries such as leisure and hospitality and construction already showing a pickup.

A positive sign is that most of July's job gains went to full-time workers, partly reversing huge advances by part-time workers at the expense of full-time employees in June. The government said the economy grew at a better-than-expected 4% annual pace in the second quarter and revised its estimate of the first-quarter's contraction to 2.1% from 2.9%. A strengthening economy is expected to support further job growth. Rapid employment gains have bolstered consumer confidence, which hit a seven-year high in July.


Click here to access the full article on USA Today. 

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