US employers add 157,000 jobs, jobless rate slips to 3.9 percent

Daniel Fowler
August 5, 2018

Friday's report showed that the closure of Toys "R" Us had an outsized impact on the employment picture in July as the economy lost 31,800 jobs from the sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores sub-industry, which in total only employs around 600,000 people.

In July, the unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 3.9%, following an increase in June. The Labor Department said the economy added 268,000 jobs in May, up from an initial estimate of 244,000, while the June gain was revised upward to 248,000 from 213,000.

Job gains were seen in the durable goods manufacturing and health care sectors as well as in restaurants and bars.

Individual state unemployment data is not expected to be released until August 17. That's near an 18-year low of 3.8 per cent reached in May.

Excluding those factors, hiring in July would have been closer to the monthly average this year.

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.

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At this stage in a record stretch of job growth that began in 2010, however, all eyes are on wages because they've been much slower to recover from the Great Recession. Average hourly earnings rose by seven cents to $27.05, the bureau report said.

The low unemployment rate could encourage the Federal Reserve to... Hospitals added 6,800 jobs in July, 36% fewer than the 10,600 new jobs added in June, a month that represented a massive hiring spike from sluggish May growth.

Gapen said he's optimistic that wage gains will pick up, ending the year at about a 3 percent increase. Economists were watching manufacturing closely for signs of a drag from the Trump administration's escalation of trade tensions with China and allies. Retail payrolls rebounded by 7,100 jobs last month after losing 20,200 in June. The solid rate of hiring reflects strong production, business confidence, and plans for expansion. The year-over-year gain is unchanged at 2.7 percent.

Construction boosted jobs by 19,000 following a 13,000 gain.

Economists forecast that employers added 193,000 nonfarm payrolls on net last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Professionals from both the executive search and talent management sectors weighed in on what they are seeing not only in the USA but other parts of the globe as well.

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