March 22 2018

Jobs gains beat expectations in July

March 22 2018, 04:06 | Clarence Walton

The last time Quebec’s jobless rate was this low was 1976 when Montreal hosted the Olympics

The last time Quebec's jobless rate was this low was 1976 when Montreal hosted the Olympics

US stocks index futures extended gains on Friday after a report from the Labor Department showed monthly employment numbers for July came in above expectations.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.3% in July from 4.4% in June.

Cathy Barrera, the chief economic adviser for the online jobs platform ZipRecruiter based in Santa Monica, Calif., has been concerned about younger workers lagging behind since the recovery from the recession.

These wage growth numbers remain below the 3.0% or more growth that was the norm before the recession.

"The fastest job growth in July was in lower-wage industries", Kolko pointed out.

But wage growth is sluggish. "One could nitpick the lack of a pickup in year-over-year wage gains, which have stayed within a narrow range of 2.5 percent to 2.8 percent this year".

Wage growth is crucial to sustaining the US economic expansion after output increased at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter, an acceleration from the January-March period's pedestrian 1.2 percent pace. "And most economists would like to see wages rising more quickly". It has mostly stabilized in the past year, suggesting some Americans who'd given up searching are being drawn back to the work force.

The healthy jobs report was another dose welcome news for an embattled White House facing a stalled policy agenda and historically low public approval ratings. Of course, he isn't entirely responsible for the job market. Manufacturing jobs increased for the second straight month. Amazon also announced in April that it's hiring 5,000 part-time customer-service reps to work out of their homes. July's decline in the jobless rate came even as more people entered the labor force.

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.0 million, changed little in July. Seasonally adjusted, residential construction added 1,000 jobs in the month, and is up by 36,000 jobs for the 12 months ending this past July, according to a preliminary estimate for July.

The good economic news comes days after Trump endorsed an immigration plan aimed at lowering the number of foreign-born workers by designing a skills-based system to determine who gets into the United States.

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