US Employment Situation

William J. Wiatrowski, Acting Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics

August 4 2017 - "Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate, at 4.3 percent, was little changed. Job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and health care. Employment growth has averaged 184,000 per month thus far this year, in line with the average monthly gain in 2016 (+187,000).

"In July, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 53,000. The industry has added 313,000 jobs over the year.

"Professional and business services added 49,000 jobs in July. Thus far this year, monthly job gains in the industry have averaged 47,000, in line with average monthly employment growth in 2016 (+45,000).

"Health care employment grew by 39,000 over the month. Job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+7,000). Over the past year, health care has added 327,000 jobs.

"Mining employment was essentially unchanged in July. From its recent low in October 2016 through June, the industry had added an average of 7,000 jobs per month.

"Employment in other major industries--construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government-- showed little change over the month.

"Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 9 cents to $26.36 in July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. From June 2016 to June 2017, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.6 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

"The major labor market indicators from the survey of households changed little in July. Both the number of unemployed people, at 7.0 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.3 percent, were about unchanged over the month. After declining earlier this year, the unemployment rate has changed little in recent months.

"Among the unemployed in July, 1.8 million had been searching for work for 27 weeks or longer. These long-term unemployed accounted for 25.9 percent of the total unemployed.

"The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, changed little in July and has shown little movement on net over the past year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.2 percent in July, also was little changed over the month but is up by 0.4 percentage point over the year.

"Among the employed, the number working part time for economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, was about unchanged at 5.3 million in July.

"Among those neither working nor looking for work in July, 1.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, 321,000 lower than a year earlier. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 536,000 in July, little different from the prior year. (People who were marginally attached to the labor force had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.)

"In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.3 percent."

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor