Economy Watch: Economy Adds 209K Jobs in July

July was a fairly good month for job growth, with employment increasing in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and health care, all of which spur commercial space absorption, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total U.S. employment increased by 209,000 positions in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, marking a fairly solid month for job growth. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and health care, all of which can spur absorption of one kind of commercial space or another.

Professional and business services, which tends to need office space for its employees, added 49,000 jobs in July, in line with its average monthly job gain over the prior 12 months. Employment in food services and drinking places, also an important user of space, rose by 53,000 in July. The industry has added 313,000 jobs over the year.

In July, health care employment increased by 39,000, with job gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (up 30,000) and hospitals (up 7,000). Health care has added 327,000 jobs over the past year.

Wage growth

In potentially good news for retailers, there’s some upward pressure on wages. In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 9 cents, to $26.36. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5 percent—somewhat ahead of inflation, which has held at less than 2 percent.

Employment growth has averaged 184,000 jobs per month so far this year, in line with the average monthly gain in 2016 (up 187,000). The headline unemployment rate came in at 4.3 percent in July, the bureau also reported, down from 4.4 percent in June.

The more expansive definition of unemployment, U-6, was 8.6 percent in July, unchanged from June.