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July’s Employment Report Is Just Fine

Tom Cunningham, PhD
August 7, 2019
Read Time: 0 min

The Aug. 2 Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report for July was about in line with expectations.

The report said 164,000 payroll jobs were added (consensus expectations ranged from 156,000 to 165,000, depending on who was doing the surveying) and the headline unemployment rate (U3) held steady at 3.7%, although it was expected to tick down 0.1 percentage point. The broadest measure of labor underutilization (U6) fell 0.2 percentage points to 7.0%.

Notable employment gains were in professional services, health care, and finance. Manufacturing saw some increase but continues on a pace notably lower than last year. Mining employment showed a slight decline, and the other sectors were essentially unchanged.

Hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent, slightly above the 0.2 percent expected, for a year-over-year increase of 3.2%.

It’s a fine, albeit unexciting, report. Labor markets continue to roll along consistent with average recent experience.

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About the Author

Tom Cunningham, PhD

Senior Advisor- Economics
Tom joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as an economist with the macropolicy group in 1985. He was promoted to senior economist in 1989 and to research officer and senior economist with responsibility for the regional group in 1992. Cunningham retired in 2015 after a 30 year career. He

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