Another good jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 164,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in professional and technical services, health care, social assistance, and financial activities.
Overall, the job market is healthy, and the data were broadly in line with expectations. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a gain of 165,000 new jobs in July, a 3.6% unemployment rate and 3.1% annual wage growth.
Through the first seven months of the year, employers have added 165,000 jobs a month, on average, below 2018’s average monthly pace of 223,000.
The decadelong U.S. expansion became the longest on record in July. While there is no rule that says the expansion must end, Friday’s jobs report adds to the evidence it is still solid but losing some steam.
Gross domestic product, a broad measure of goods and services across the economy, increased at a 2.1% annual rate in the second quarter, down sharply from a 3.1% pace in the first quarter. Business spending has faltered in recent months. Manufacturing output has declined since the end of 2018, though more recently it has ticked up slightly.
USA Today also notes the slight slowing.
Hiring has slowed this year to an average monthly pace of 165,000 from 223,000 in 2018, but that’s still a solid performance and more than enough to keep lowering the jobless rate. Economists largely blame the the low unemployment rate, which means employers have a harder time finding available workers.
The AP also reports the effects of a tight job market and concerns over future growth prospects.
Though the pace of hiring has slowed this year, one reason is that a growing share of Americans already have jobs. Unemployment is near a half-century low. The overall U.S. economy remains on firm footing, and last month the expansion became the longest on record.
Still, the economy has faced some tumult as President Donald Trump has escalated his trade conflict with China. On Thursday, Trump announced plans to tax an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports beginning in September, a move that could slow economic growth, at least slightly…
The manufacturing sector, though, has been struggling with declines in output. Manufacturers posted healthy gains of 16,000 jobs in July, though most of the growth was in the transportation sector that could soon be hit by auto plant layoffs.
But other areas showed some signs of weakness. Construction companies added just 4,000 workers. The transportation and warehousing sector added just 300 jobs. Retailers shed 3,600.
Though it is growing consistently, the economy does appear to be sliding into a slower phase.
Washington has generally outperformed the national economy, including boasting four cities among the nation’s top 20 for job growth. Still, as is suggested by today’s report, there’s always reason to be concerned.