Jobless Rate Unchanged at 3.7 Percent

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 3.7% in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. In a separate survey, businesses claimed to create 148,000 new jobs that month, while governments added 16,000, with 11,700 of them, seasonally adjusted, in local schools.

The number of unemployed was 6.063 million, up 88,000 from June, BLS said. But add together the jobless, those who toil part-time when they really want full-time work and people so discouraged they’ve dropped out of the job market, and you get one of every 14 workers.

“Wage growth continues to fall short of what we’d expect in an economy that has had historically low unemployment,” tweeted Economic Policy Institute analyst Elise Gould after BLS reported wages grew at a 3.2% annual rate. “The unemployment rate has been at (or below) 4% for the past 17 months” and economists believe such a tight labor market should prompt businesses to compete for scarce workers by offering better pay. They aren’t.

Factories added 16,000 jobs, to 12.864 million in July, with the sole big gain in cars and parts (+7,200). Other gains and losses were small. Some 472,000 factory workers (3%) were jobless.

At the height of construction season, firms claimed to add only 4,000 jobs in July, to 7.505 million. That left 386,000 jobless building trades workers (3.8%), 53,000 more than in last July. And union leaders say the official stats understate joblessness there, as a worker who toils for one day during the survey week is counted as working all month. That’s often not the case in construction.

As usual, the lowest-paying service occupations led the way in job creation, the separate survey reported. Of the 133,000 jobs service firms claimed to create in July, 30,400 were in health care, 20,400 were in individual and family social services and day care, and 15,400 were in bars and restaurants. The number of jobless government workers rose by 72,000 in one year, to 816,000 (3.9%). Government now has more jobless workers than any other consolidated category.  

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work