July U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls To 3.9 Percent

July U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls To 3.9 Percent

July marked a solid month for the USA labor market according to the US Department of Commerce's Employment Report released this morning.

Non-farm payrolls advanced 157,000 after an upwardly revised 248,000 increase, Labor Department figures showed Friday. Mortgage rates have also increased in the past year, lifting monthly payments and making many homes even less affordable.

The jobless rate had risen in June from an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May.

"The basic story of the labor market has been a slow and steady recovery of month after month of impressive jobs gains", said Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. "This is an issue not just for the US, but in every other developed market".

An increase in wages that occurred in June also could help the housing market even though it remains below the pre-recession rate of growth, he added. 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. These employment gains were offset by a decline of 32,000 in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores, reflecting job losses in hobby, toy, and game stores.

"The important point is that there is no sign of overheating but that aggregate wages and salaries (jobs x hours x earnings) are growing at a brisk pace", Neil Dutta, the head of United States economics at Renaissance Macro, said in a note. The 3.9% unemployment rate suggests workers are in short supply.

The employment picture's been pretty rosy lately, with average job growth above 200,000 a month since mid-spring and more people coming back into the labor market.

Biz
July 2018 Jobs Report Payroll Growth Slows
Biz July 2018 Jobs Report Payroll Growth Slows

Yet the trade fights didn't appear to impact hiring last month.

The gains came from white-collar professional firms as well as manufacturing which filled 37,000 jobs.

The drop in government payrolls was concentrated in local governments, which shed 20,000 jobs. The number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6.3 million in July.

The US labour force participation rate (the share of the population 16 years and older either working or seeking work), which peaked at 67.1 percent in 2000, remained unchanged from the previous month at 62.9 percent. That is the fewest in 11 years and means part-time workers are getting more hours.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate slightly dropped from 4-percent to 3.9-percent.

But the unemployment rate is an incomplete indicator, as it excludes people who didn't look for work in the past four weeks.

Venezuelan president attacked in drone explosion
In the statement to el Nuevo, the group claiming responsibility said the military's goals were not achieved. State television showed him cutting short a speech as hundreds of soldiers broke ranks and scattered.

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