The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 255,000 jobs were added to the US economy in July. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent. Other interesting notes include:
- The average work week ticked up by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours per week.
- Employment in all areas except mining either increased or remained unchanged. Mining decreased by 6,000 jobs.
- The areas that saw the greatest gain included: professional and business services, health care, and financial services.
- The number of long-term unemployed remained unchanged, meaning the jobs went to workers who had recently lost their jobs.
- Underemployment rose from 9.6% to 9.7%. Underemployed are people who accept part-time jobs because they are unable to find full-time jobs.
- Wages also continue to increase. They increased .3% since June and average $25.69 per hour.
It is encouraging that job growth has been strong two months in a row. 292,000 jobs were added in June. It will be interesting to see how the stock market responds. Will investors be encouraged by the good news where employment gains exceeded most economists' predictions, or will investors grow concerned that the encouraging news will prompt the Federal Reserve to begin increasing interest rates?