Jobless Rate Unchanged at 3.7 Percent

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.  


Posted In: Allied Approaches