US July job growth slowed

US July job growth slowed, registering an increase of 209,000, which was slightly fewer than the 230,000 analysts had been expecting. The unemployment rate edged up to 6.2% in July from 6.1% in June, said the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Monthly job growth exceeded 200,000 for six successive months, the first time this has happened in over ten years.

Employment increased in construction, the retail trade, manufacturing and business services.

The number of people out of work – 9.7 million – was not significantly different in July compared to the previous month. Since July 2013, the number of jobless people and the unemployment rate declined by 1.7 million and 1.1 percentage points respectively.

Below is a breakdown of July unemployment rates among major worker groups:

  • adult females: 5.7% (increased),
  • adult males: 5.7% (virtually unchanged),
  • teenagers: 20.2% (virtually unchanged),
  • whites: 5.3% (virtually unchanged),
  • blacks: 11.4% (increased),
  • hispanics: 7.8% (virtually unchanged),
  • asians: 4.5% (virtually unchanged).

Long term unemployment

The number of people out of work for at least 27 weeks in July, i.e. long-term unemployed persons, remained virtually unchanged at 3.2 million. Long-term unemployment made up 32.9% of the total jobless number.

There were 1.1 million fewer long-term unemployed Americans in July 2014 compared to July 2013.

Long-term unemployment makes it much harder for the person to find a job that lasts. A study carried out by a team from Princeton University and the Brookings Institution found that only 11% of long-term unemployed Americans manage to acquire meaningful sustainable jobs; the rest remain unemployed for most of the rest of their lives.

At 62.9%, the civilian labor force participation rate was little changed in July, it has remained virtually the same since April.

Compared to June, July’s employment-population ratio remained unchanged at 59%, but increased by 0.3 of a percentage point since July 2013.

The total number of people working part-time for economic reasons, also known as involuntary part-time workers, remained unchanged in July at 7.5 million. These people are working part-time because their working week has been reduced or they are unable to find full-time employment.

A total of 2.2 million Americans were marginally attached to the labor force, 236,000 fewer than in July 2013. These people were not in the labor force but had been seeking employment and were available for work at some time during the last 12 months. They were not included in the list of unemployed people because they had not been looking for work during the 4-week period leading up to the survey.

US employment monthly changes

(Data source: US Department of Labor)

Job growth in different sectors:

  • Professional and business services: 47,000 jobs were added in July compared to June, while 648,000 were added during the past 12 months. Job growth continued strongly across most of the industry, including a gain of 9,000 in architectural and engineering services. There was no significant change in the number of temporary help services jobs.
  • Retail employment: increased by 27,000 in July compared to the previous month, and by 298,000 since July 2013. Job growth was observed in general merchandise stores, food and beverage stores, and automobile dealers.
  • Construction: employment rose by 22,000 in July versus June and by 211,000 year-over year. Gains were strong in residential specialty trade and residential building contractors.
  • Social assistance: 18,000 job gains were posted in July compared to June, and 110,000 over the year. Health care employment changed little compared to June, while ambulatory health care services reported 21,000 more jobs, more than offsetting losses in nursing care facilities (-6,000) and hospitals (-7,000).
  • Mining: employment rose by 8,000, mostly in support activities for mining (+6,000). Compared to July 2013, there were 46,000 more jobs.
  • Leisure and hospitality: employment was virtually unchanged compared to June. Over the past twelve months 375,000 jobs were added, mainly in drinking places and food services.

Working hours and pay

The average workweek for all private non-farm workers was 34.5 hours – the total has remained unchanged for the last five consecutive months.

The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 of an hour to 40.9 hours in July. Overtime work done in factories fell by 0.1 of an hour to 3.4 hours.

For production and non-supervisory workers on private non-farm payrolls, the average workweek was 33.7 hours.

Average hourly earnings in July increased by 1 cent to $24.45. Since July 2013, average pay per hour has increased by 2%.

The average hourly pay of production and non-supervisory workers rose by 4 cents to $20.61 in July.