Change in Nonfarm Payrolls Tops Expectations

August 5, 2016 8:30 AM EDT

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  • Change in Nonfarm Payrolls 255K vs 180K Expected; UE Rate 4.9% vs 4.8% Expected


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Employment in mining continued to trend down.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent in July, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 7.8 million. Both measures have shown little movement, on net, since August of last year. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates in July were little changed for adult men (4.6 percent), adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (15.6 percent), Whites, (4.3 percent), Blacks (8.4 percent), Asians (3.8 percent), and Hispanics (5.4 percent). (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In July, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks decreased by 258,000. At 2.0 million, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged over the month and accounted for 26.6 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, changed little in July. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.9 million in July. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In July, 2.0 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 591,000 discouraged workers in July, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in July had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Mining employment continued to trend down. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 70,000 jobs in July and has 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 (+8,000) and architectural and engineering services (+7,000). Employment in management and technical consulting services continued to trend up (+6,000).

In July, health care employment increased by 43,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+19,000), hospitals (+17,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000). Over the past 12 months, health care has added 477,000 jobs.

Employment in financial activities rose by 18,000 in July and has risen by 162,000 over the year.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in July (+45,000). Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in July (+21,000); this industry has added an average of 18,000 jobs per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 30,000 in 2015.

Government employment edged up in July (+38,000).

Employment in mining continued to trend down over the month (-6,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, employment in this industry has fallen by 220,000, or 26 percent.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, and information, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in July. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 40.7 hours, while overtime increased by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls also increased by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents to $25.69. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $21.59 in July. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +11,000 to +24,000, and the change for June was revised from +287,000 to +292,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 18,000 more than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month.



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