State of the Labor Market

July Jobs Report: 157,000 Is Still a Solid Number


While job growth in July was lower than expected, there is no need to panic - 157,000 is still a good number, and this solid jobs report continues the longest streak of job growth on record.

Average job growth so far this year is still higher than in 2016 and 2017, which is astonishing at this point in a recovery.

Manufacturing continued the strong growth it has seen since the beginning of 2017. Construction also had a good month. On the other hand, mining and logging saw its first month of negative job growth since late 2016, and transportation and warehousing, government, financial activities, and utilities all also lost jobs.

On the household side, the percentage of prime-age workers with a job reached its highest level in the recovery, suggesting that workers are still being pulled into the labor force by the strong labor market. The share of workers who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work fell to its lowest level in the recovery. While the overall unemployment rate continues to bounce around 4%, the broadest measure of unemployment just fell to a new low in this recovery.

The continued improvement in these measures of worker well-being suggests that wage growth may still be waiting in the wings for some time.

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