State of the Labor Market

July 2019 Jobs Report: Solid but Not Sensational Job Growth


The labor market added 164,000 new jobs in July, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobs report for July was fine but not spectacular. Job growth continued to slow, and is now less than three-quarters of what it was on average at this point last year. That being said, job growth is not at a level that should cause concern for job seekers. The economy is still expanding, just at a slower pace.

Frustratingly, although wage growth ticked up this month, it remains below the rates seen earlier this year. In addition, the rate of workers age 25 to 54 with a job has stopped improving year-over-year. Even as the unemployment rate leveled off, that number kept improving, reflecting workers coming back into the labor force. The lack of continued improvement there is disheartening.

On a brighter note, the share of workers stuck in part-time work hit its lowest rate in this recovery, and the long-term unemployment rate hit its pre-recession low. Those numbers are important reminders that continued expansion in the labor market helps workers who are most struggling.

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