The U.S. economy gained 157,000 jobs in July, and unemployment was little changed at 3.9%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the labor market continues to recover at only a tempered pace, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee did the right thing to hold off on further rate hikes. It would be well-advised to continue on that cautious path.
In response to the July jobs numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:
Job growth is modest at 157,000 jobs in July but unemployment rate edges down to 3.9 percent. Broadest measure of labor slack U-6, including part-time wanting full-time work and discouraged workers falls to 7.5 percent. All below pre-Recession levels. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 3, 2018
Sign that there is still labor slack, despite modest job growth this month, prime age employment to population ratio rose from 79.3 to 79.5% in July. Good thing the @federalreserve held rates constant rather than continue to push rate hikes until they wreck job growth @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 3, 2018
The employment success of prime age Black women is from their return to the labor force, which has grown much faster than for other prime age workers. @AFLCIO @WSJ #JobsReport @SistahScholar @cbtu @HarinContractor @dchometownboy pic.twitter.com/VeblqFBzo6— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 3, 2018
A reason to believe we aren't seeing skills mismatch is the dramatic year over year drop in unemployment rates for construction & mining and production and transportation related occupations relative to higher skilled workers. #JobsReport @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/JAK7CI3Ojv— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 3, 2018
We won't see a full recovery in the labor market, or the economy, until we pick up state and local investment and public sector hiring. Big drop in local government employment (this is seasonally adjusted to acknowledge summer and school is out) is a bad sign. @AFSCME #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/ZX9HhsGrIB— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 3, 2018
Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business services (51,000), manufacturing (37,000), health care and social assistance (34,000), food services and drinking places (26,000), construction (19,000) and retail trade (7,000). Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined for adult men (3.4%) and whites (3.4%), while the rates for teenagers (13.1%), blacks (6.6%), Hispanics (4.5%), adult women (3.7%) and Asians (3.1%) showed little or no change in July.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged in July and accounted for 22.7% of the unemployed.