Economic growth continued at a fast pace with the addition of 157,000 new jobs in the month of July, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report made public Friday.
“Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 157,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in health care and social assistance,” the report said.
The economy has seen fairly steady employment growth in recent years following a notably sluggish recovery from the Great Recession of 2008, despite President Barack Obama’s $815 billion stimulus program in 2009.
President Donald Trump’s massive repeal in 2017 of new federal regulations enacted by his predecessor prompted significant growth. Passage of his tax cut package last December then sparked additional rapid expansion in 2018.
The 4.1 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in the second quarter was the most since 2014. Chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Friday preliminary GDP data point to the possibility of a 5.0 percent figure for the third quarter.
The BLS has tracked a higher average job growth rate over the year at 203,000 a month. The report also found that the unemployment rate for adult men and whites declined, but adult women, teenagers, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics showed little or no change over the month.
The unemployment rate has been one of the more promising indicators, with the rate in recent months hitting its lowest point since 2000. It has gone up some since then but appears to be holding steady. The report found that the number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6.3 million in July.
The BLS report also found that average hourly earnings for all private sector employees increased by seven cents to $27.05. The average hourly earnings over the past year have increased by 71 cents. The slow growth of wages has been a concern among economist and political movements such as Fight for $15.
The labor force participation rate remained fairly consistent over the past year at 62.9 percent in July. That is the total number of people working or looking for work as a percentage of the total population. The unemployment rate doesn’t track people considered to be out of the labor market due to long-term joblessness.
The labor force participation rate experienced a sharp decline following the 2008 recession. The rate bottomed out and has been showing slight upticks and falls since 2014. The rate was already declining before the recession but at a slower rate, starting in the 1990s.
Professional and business services saw the biggest increase in employment at 51,000 jobs in July. That sector was followed by manufacturing, health care, and social assistance. Employment showed little or no change over the month in mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government.