Economy Watch: Employment Surges Again in July

Employers found themselves in need of more workers again in July, creating a net of 255,000 jobs in July, according to the BLS.

Employers found themselves in need of more workers again in July, creating a net of 255,000 jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. Job gains in the U.S. economy were fairly broad-based, occurring in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Because of the depressed price of oil, employment in the BLS category “mining” continued to trend down.

Sectors of the economy that affect office space demand did particularly well. Professional and business services added 70,000 jobs in July, and have added 550,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Within the industry, employment rose by 37,000 in professional and technical services in July, led by computer systems design and related services (up 8,000) and architectural and engineering services (up 7,000). Employment in financial activities rose by 18,000 in July and has risen by 162,000 over the year.

Not only was July a strong month for hiring, but the uptick in total employment for May—which was very weak—was revised from a gain of 11,000 jobs to one of 24,000, slightly stronger. The growth in employment for June—a very good month—was revised from a gain of 287,000 jobs to one of 292,000, marking an exceptionally strong month. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 18,000 more than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month.

The headline unemployment rate, 4.9 percent, didn’t move in July, presumably because more people are looking for work now than in previous months. It was 5.3 percent a year ago. The BLS’s U-6 metric, which includes people only marginally attached to the workforce, as well as those who have part-time jobs but who want full-time ones, was 9.7 percent in July, slightly up from June, but down from 10.4 percent a year ago.