Aug 03, 2018

Putting U.S. Employment Numbers in Context – July 2018

Post by Freedom Partners

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the economy gained 157,000 jobs in July and the U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.9 percent. The number of jobs added during May and June was revised up to 268,000 and 248,000 total jobs respectively for an average of roughly 215,000 jobs created per month so far this year. Further, the percentage of individuals who are underemployed, which includes those who want a job but are no longer looking for work and those who are working part-time because no other work was available, fell to its lowest rate in over 17 years.

With the labor market at its strongest in two decades, today’s report highlights the benefits of enacting pro-growth policies like tax reform and continued regulatory relief. Over the past year and a half, average hourly earnings for all private sector employees rose roughly 4.1 percent, signaling a strong turnaround for workers after years of stagnant wage growth. Additionally, the economy gained over 3.4 million jobs, at an average rate of 190,667 jobs per month and the unemployment rate dropped 0.9 percentage points. The largest private sector job gains were seen in education and health services, as well as professional and business services.

However, tariffs on goods imported into the U.S. threaten to undermine accelerated job growth and the overall labor market – they are already costing businesses and consumers more. One estimate showed that nearly 36 million U.S. jobs were supported by trade in 2016. Tariffs benefit only a few politically connected industries at the expense of most consumers and businesses. Lowering trade barriers will improve lives by growing the economy, increasing pay checks, and creating new and better jobs.

Below is a deeper look at the numbers from today’s report and what they say about the state of the U.S. labor market.