American job growth falls short of expectations in July
05 August, 2018, 20:11
USA establishments added a net new 157,000 jobs, following the upwardly revised average gains in May and June of an outsized 258,000.
Although the July hiring number fell below economists' expectations, the government revised the previous months' job gains by an additional 59,000.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% from 4% as expected, moving closer to an 18-year low. The unemployment rate had ticked up in June as the healthy jobs market attracted more workers back into the labor force.
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.
A jobless rate of under 4 percent usually prompts employers to raise wages to attract and keep good workers; but, the newest figures show wages grew just 2.7 percent over the past year, which is slightly lower than the inflation rate, meaning that real wages are actually falling slightly. Consumer prices rose 2.9 percent in June from a year earlier, more than the average wage gain.
Homebuyers are encountering higher mortgage rates, one reason that the housing market has been faltering lately even as other economic indicators like hiring have remained strong, as evidenced by the upward revisions for May and June. 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.
Manufacturing employment continued to rise briskly, by 37,000 in July, in line with business optimism in the sector and on track to far outpace last year's 207,000 gain. Gains were seen in professional and business services, manufacturing, healthcare, and social assistance. Wage growth has been stuck around that level for two years. Mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information and financial activities remained mostly flat, the BLS said.
"If this was a prez [presidential election] year, these strong jobs reports would matter so much more for the elections", CNN election analyst Harry Enten said Friday on Twitter.
Construction boosted jobs by 19,000 following a 13,000 gain.
"The vast majority of the jobs we're adding are in services, which tend to be low-wage sectors", said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.
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