Economy adds impressive 209K jobs in July
The U.S. economy added a solid 209,000 jobs in July, exceeding economists’ estimates as the labor market shows few signs of slowing down.
The unemployment rate last month fell to 4.3 percent from 4.4, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
The labor market has churned out nearly 1.3 million jobs in the first seven months of the year, maintaining the momentum that started nearly seven years ago under President Barack Obama.
In the past three months, the labor market has averaged 195,000 jobs a month.
Reports for May and June were revised upward by 2,000 jobs.
President Trump has highlighted the solid jobs reports — the same he criticized as fraudulent while campaigning for the White House — as evidence that his economic plan is boosting growth.
And he quickly took to Twitter Friday to trumpet the July report:
Excellent Jobs Numbers just released – and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2017
The labor market has added jobs monthly since October 2010.
The president also took credit this week for faster economic growth and the surge in the Dow Jones industrial average, which hit another milestone on Wednesday, eclipsing 22,000.
Yet the Wall Street gains, about 9 percent, during the first six months of the Trump administration are slower than those under Obama (22.6) and President George H.W. Bush (20.1), according to Bloomberg.
“We have a growth rate — a GDP — which has been much higher than, as you know, anybody anticipated, except maybe us,” Trump said this week. “But it’s going to go up. It’s going to go higher, too.”
He highlighted a $10 billion electronics manufacturing plant planned by Foxconn Technology Group in Wisconsin that is expected to create 3,000 jobs and open in 2020.
But while Trump has touted his ability to bring jobs back to the United States, companies such as Indianapolis-based Carrier, which he vowed to save from deeper jobs cuts, started layoffs late last month for what will total more than 600 planned firings before year’s end.
“Our economy is making steady progress with more people entering the labor force and continued job creation,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Friday.
“But this report also shows too many Americans are still having a hard time finding good-paying jobs, getting a raise and providing for their families,” Brady said.
Brady said that tax reform is the best way to boost the economy and create jobs.
Hourly earnings, which ticked up slightly last month (0.3 percent) and have risen 2.5 percent over the year, remain sluggish despite the continued steady pace of monthly jobs growth.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee, criticized Trump for the lack of a jobs plan.
“After nearly eight months on the job, President Trump has failed to come up with a cogent plan to create good-paying jobs and increase wages,” Heinrich said.
“As a result, wages are barely exceeding inflation, and more than 100,000 workers have been laid off as companies continue to close American operations and ship jobs overseas,” he said.
Employment for prime-age workers (25–54) hit a post-recession high last month, he said, rising to 78.5 percent, gradually moving back toward the 80.3 percent reached in January 2007.
Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said that while there is still some slack in the market, signs point to an economy moving toward full employment.
“So, clear evidence of labor market tightening, but, at least as far as the prime-age workers go, still some potential labor supply to be tapped,” Bernstein said.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said this week that at this continued pace of jobs growth the unemployment rate will fall to 4 percent or below within the year.
The labor market has churned out nearly 1.3 million jobs in the first seven months of the year.
Retail remained weak last month, only adding 900 jobs in July.
Construction added 6,000 jobs and manufacturers hired 16,000 last month.
“The July increase in manufacturing was the fastest since February, and the sector has now increased employment in seven of the past eight months,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.
Updated at 10:32 a.m.