Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Finance | By Marshall Campbell

Payrolls rise 157,000 in July

Payrolls rise 157,000 in July

July wasn't a stellar month for hiring in the USA healthcare sector, with fewer jobs added in ambulatory care, hospitals and nursing facilities compared with a month earlier. More hours has helped lift average weekly earnings for retail workers in the past year more quickly than for workers overall. The idea that the labor market is becoming increasingly tilted to favor more educated workers does not appear to be supported by the employment data. "As is, the economy is not strongly correlated with midterm outcomes".

The U.S. labor market remained in solid shape last month, adding 157,000 jobs while the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9 percent and wage growth improved - although workers are still waiting for significant gains in their purchasing power because prices are also rising.

Thirty-seven percent of responding small business owners said they had job openings they could not fill, the highest number since the Monthly Jobs Report began, the NFIB said August 2. Typically, businesses raise wages when it's hard to find the talent they want, but annual wage growth remained at a tepid 2.7 percent, the Labor Department said.

The gains came from white-collar professional firms as well as manufacturing which filled 37,000 jobs. Sales of new homes fell sharply in June.

A collective upward revision of 59,000 for May and June brought the three-month average for job creation to 224,000, faster than the growth pace seen a year ago.

Average hourly pay gains remained modest in July, increasing 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the same as the previous two months.

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"That is pathetic", economist Joel Naroff wrote in a client note. A survey of small businesses published on Thursday showed a record number in July of establishments reporting that they could not find workers. "That does not bode well for future spending". The jobless rate is projected to decline to 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low, from 4 percent.

After remaining elevated for years after the Great Recession, the number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time work has fallen almost 13 percent in the past year and now stands at 4.6 million.

Employment also fell marginally in logging and mining, a sector that includes the oil industry, as well as in financial services, leisure and hospitality and in government.

"This job growth is nothing to be disappointed about, particularly at this stage of the recovery", said Martha Gimbel, director of economic research at job search website Indeed.

"House price appreciation has exceeded wage growth for six years, so any signal that wage growth may be closing the gap is good news", said Fleming.

One theory for why wage growth is not picking up more is that many Americans gave up looking for jobs in the aftermath of the Great Recession, but people are now looking again as they see the strong job market.

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