July Jobs Report Shows U.S. Economy Continues to Grow

The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9% in a jobs report that was below analysts’ expectations but still showed an economy humming along. Experts had expected job gains of 190,000 for the month.

Among the sectors adding the most positions were manufacturing with 37,000, health care and social assistance with 34,000 jobs and food services with 26,000. Construction, an industry often seen as a barometer for economic activity added 19,000 jobs for the month and has added 308,000 positions over the year.

Despite missing analysts’ expectations, the report still highlights positive economic developments. Wages continue to climb, albeit modestly. Average hourly earnings for U.S. employees rose by 7 cents to $27.05.

In another positive development, the jobs number for the two previous months – already strong months – were revised further upward. Positions for May were revised upward from +244,000 to +268,000 and June from +213,000 to +248,000.

July marked the 94th straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

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Inflation Wiping Out Wage Growth

U.S. inflation hit a six-year high last month delineating the reason workers are not feeling real increases in their wages. Americans are finding it difficult to realize real increases in their take-home pay despite an economy that is growing at near-record levels.

The consumer-price index, a measure that tracks prices of a basket of consumer goods and services – everything from cereal to furniture to clothing – rose 0.1% in June. Core prices, the consumer price index less food and energy goods, which are known to fluctuate wildly, increased 0.2%.

June marked the second consecutive month in which annual inflation, which reached 2.9% last month, offset the gains made in the average hourly wage. That means wages have remained stagnant despite the fact that unemployment is at the lowest point it’s been in nearly two decades and the number of job openings in the country is now greater than the number of jobless Americans.

The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June. Construction jobs added 13,000 jobs in the month, health care added 25,000 and professional and businesses services, leading all other industries, added 50,000 new positions. Even manufacturing, seemingly unbothered by the bourgeoning trade war between the U.S. and other countries, added a robust 36,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 4% from 3.8%, marking the first time that measure has increased in one and a half years, but even that news was viewed as a positive. About 601,000 Americans have re-joined the workforce, which is what caused the rate to drop. The market is so strong, many people who had previously given up looking for work have started again.

June marks the 93rd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo by Alpha Stock Images

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Unemployment Rate at Lowest Rate in 18 Years

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in May, beating expectations and delivering a positive jobs report, indicating a bustling economy. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, the lowest it’s been since 2000.

Economists had been expecting an addition of 190,000 and the unemployment rate remaining steady at 3.9%.

Perhaps the most positive news in the report can be found in the wage-growth data. Although the rise in wage growth has been lower than in previous periods of such low unemployment, it still managed to slightly beat expectations. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% beating forecasts of 0.2%. It’s now up 2.7% over the past year. It was expected to remain steady at 2.6%.

Historically, the rate of wage growth in a period of such low unemployment has been about 4%.

The rise in wage growth also indicates employers are having a hard time filling open positions, leading them to increase wages.

The low unemployment and slight uptick in wages leads many to believe the Fed will raise interest rates in the coming months to head off an overheating economy.

Last month the number of unemployed Americans came into balance with the number of open positions waiting to be filled. There are roughly 6.3 million unemployed Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and about 6.5 million job openings.

The ratio of jobless Americans to job openings has been cut nearly in half since the beginning of the great recession in 2007. At that time there were 1.9 unemployed Americans for every job opening.

May is the 92nd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo via Library of Congress

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Economy Adds 313,000 Jobs in Strong February Jobs Report

The economy added a strong 313,000 jobs in the month of February beating Wall Street expectations and fueling strong gains in the stock market.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 300 points in early trading in the wake of the reports’ release.

The unemployment rate stayed the same at 4.1%, the fifth straight month it has remained at that level, and wage growth also grew at a slower-than-expected 2.6%.  But the data may be an overall positive as they eased economists’ fears of an overheating economy and climbing inflation.

This is the last jobs report that will be released before the Federal Reserve Bank decides whether to raise interest rates in a few weeks.  The Bank’s Federal Open Markets Committee meets later this month on March 20-21.  Low interest rates have been considered to be a main factor in the economy’s strong performance in recent years.

It was the second straight strong jobs report of the year as the economy added 200,000 jobs in January and November’s and December’s totals were revised upward by an additional 24,000 jobs.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta applauded the report and touted the positive data as a byproduct of Trump administration policies.

“The non-stop job creation since the election has yielded 2.9 million jobs.  For the fifth month in a row, the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, a 17-year low…President Trump’s tax reform continues to boost economic confidence with more than 400 companies handing out bonuses, raises, or other benefits to more than 4 million Americans,” Acosta said in a statement.

Vice President Mike Pence also tied the positive economic news to the Administration’s economic initiatives.  “GREAT NEWS! 313,000 new JOBS created in February and nearly 3 million jobs added since @POTUS was elected. A year of ACTION, a year of RESULTS!” he wrote on Twitter.

 

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Economy Adds 200,000 Jobs According to Strong Jobs Report

The economy added 200,000 jobs in January and unemployment held at 4.1% according to the January jobs report released by the Labor Department.  November’s and December’s totals were revised upward by an additional 24,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate has dropped from 4.8% to 4.1% over the last year.  It has been at 4.1%, the lowest it’s been since December 2000, for four straight months.  The U.S. economy has added jobs for eighty-eight straight months.

Perhaps the strongest revelation is that wages have begun to rise, increasing by 2.9% versus last year.  Economists believe wages will continue to grow as the labor market tightens.

The unemployment rate is expected to fall into the mid-3% range this year, boosted by the GOP-passed tax overhaul passed in December.  The last time it was lower than this level was December 2000 when it was at 3.9%.

Economic growth however, may stay below 3%.  The economy grew at 2.3% last year, better than the 1.5% of the year before, but below the target of the 3% the current administration has set.

 

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