Jobs Report Paints a Picture of Nervous Employers
Private sector hiring is still sluggish; revisions slash 50,000 private sector job gains from June
For all the buildup to each month's jobs report, this one is kind of a bust. July's
The unemployment rate remained at 9.5 percent, suggesting that the many labor force "dropouts" who lowered the rate by leaving the workforce still aren't jumping back into their job searches.
For the bears: If the economy needs to add about 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with natural growth -- and about twice as many jobs to erase recessionary losses in a timely manner -- it's clear that employers are still showing a level of restraint that is preventing full recovery. Perhaps the worst news in the report was the revision to last month's job figure.
Employers aren't even adding jobs in all sectors just yet. Companies in the financial activities industry continue to slash jobs: 17,000 were cut last month, above the industry's average losses this year. Since January, the financial activities industry has averaged 12,000 jobs lost a month. That's less than the jobs lost in 2009, but nothing resembling recovery. With job cuts also in budget-strapped state and local governments, "non-Census payroll growth has averaged just [12,000] in the latest three months, which, no matter how you might try to spin it, is just plain lousy," says
There were a lot of things that didn't change much last month. The number of unemployed remained steady at about 14.6 million. The number of people working part-time jobs who really want full-time work remained fairly level at 8.5 million. The number of people out of work for six months or more -- the rather heartbreaking ranks of the "long-term unemployed" -- was 6.6 million, only slightly less or technically "little changed" from June.
There continues to be vast numbers of discouraged workers: Some 1.2 million unemployed people have looked for work in the past year, but not in the past month because they just don't believe they'll find anything, often because they believe they lack the skills employers are looking for. Given the number of jobs that have vanished in this recession, some of those workers will need to be retrained for entirely different occupations.
"The state of the labor market is poor," says
For the bulls: For one thing, the 71,000 private-sector job gains are still more than in May and June, which suggests that jobs are heading in the right direction, if slowly. Employers in the private sector have added 630,000 jobs since the start of the year, with the vast bulk of growth in March and April, before the European debt crisis.
Manufacturing employment continues to rise as seasonal layoffs in motor vehicles and parts are fewer than expected. Manufacturing added 36,000 jobs last month, a strong figure closely in line with April and May figures. Manufacturing employment has risen every month since January, which was the first increase in three-and-a-half years.
Healthcare jobs continued to grow in July, and 12,000 jobs were added in transportation and warehousing (bringing total gains to 56,000 since the transportation and warehousing hit an employment low in February.)
Also, some ammo for the bulls: The average workweek for private sector employees unexpectedly increased by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek increased 0.1 hour to 40.1 hours and the average workweek for private production and non-supervisory workers grew by 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours in July.
"The report was weaker than expected -- but not as disappointing as implied by the payroll employment component because of offsetting strength in hours and earning," wrote
Other job market data may be more optimistic about July, showing online job postings increasing to post-2008 highs. The Conference Board reports that online postings for job openings jumped by 139,200 in July. The total openings last month were nearly 4.3 million, up from 4.15 million in June and less than 3.3 million a year ago. Job search site Indeed.com reported that transportation sector job postings in July were more than double the same month a year ago. Indeed.com reported year-over-year postings growth in 11 out of 12 tracked sectors. Healthcare was the only sector to see postings decrease.
- Third World America
- States Don't Need a Bailout; States Need to Cut Spending
- Federal Reserve Moves to Support Low Mortgage Rates
- Jobs Report Paints a Picture of Nervous Employers
- Why We Shouldn't Keep the Bush Tax Cut for the Wealthy
- Magical Thinking in Washington
- Wake Up Washington
- What Year Is This?
- Germany's Good Fortune Tips the Scales Against its Neighbors
- Housing Market Takes Another Step Backwards
- Some Good News for Job Seekers
- The Great Decoupling of Corporate Profits From Jobs
- Three Key Ways to Drive Job Growth
- America's Worst Job Market: El Centro, California
- Home Prices Improve But May Soon Begin Sliding
- Home Sales Rebound From Record-Low Levels
- Place the Blame Where It Belongs
- Bernanke Carries Extra Burden for Economic Recovery
- Downward Pressure on Home Prices Mounts
- Dirt-Cheap Mortgage Rates: Here for How Long?
- Weak Demand & Tight Credit Keeps Builders On Sidelines
- Obama and Big Business Trade Blame on the Economy
- Why Start-ups Could Make or Break the Job Recovery
- Before the Wall Street Crisis, There Was 'Poverty, Inc.'
- New Finance Bill: Mountain of Legislative Paper; Molehill of Reform
- Financial Reform Another Talking Point for Obama & Democrats
- The Vanishing American Consumer and the Coming Trade War
- Why the Economy Isn't Quite as Bad as It Seems
- 6 Reasons the Housing Market Hasn't Recovered
- Why Everyone Suffers When Job Seekers Give Up
- Depressed About The Economy? Maybe Because You're Earning Less
- Obama's Anti-Business Policies Are Our Economic Katrina
- Republicans' Aversion to Financial Reform Misguided
- Slouching Toward a Double Dip or Lousy Recovery at Best
- 8 Problems That Could Trigger a Double-Dip Recession
- Why Congress Cannot Afford Not to Extend Unemployment Benefits
- Distressed Home Sales to Sandbag Housing Revival
- Home Sales Poised to Drop in Coming Months
- The Economy's Lasting Impact on Your Retirement
- Forget Obama - Fear the Real State Capitalists
- Imperative Need for America to Become an Innovation Nation
- Jobs Bill a Tough Call for Democrats
- What Soldiers at War Can Teach Us About Surviving Financial Warfare
- 5 Things to Know About the Newest Jobs Bill
- New Home Sales Plummet to Record Low
- The Housing Market's Unexpected Drop
- When Obama Trades Jobs for a Higher Priority
- When National Politics and Home-State Economics Collide
- Reasons -- and Ways -- to Splurge This Summer
- What China's Currency Reform Means For Investors
- The Democrats' Economic Vision Problem
- Urban Abandonment
- Coping With China's Financial Power
- Is the Recession Over?
- Managing Debt Remains Key in Face of An Uncertain Economy
- Home Repossessions Hit New Record High
- 2010 Elections Will Turn on Jobs and the Economy
- Chamber of Commerce Aims to Boost Trade With China
- America Has Two Sets of Rules
- Why May Jobs Report is Better and Worse Than it Looks
- Jobless Economic Recovery Remains Issue Number One
- What Financial Reform Means For Consumers
- Financial Reform Legislation Gives Shareholders More Say
- Financial Reform: Win for Wall Street - Cold Shoulder for Main Street
- Fiduciary Provision May Be Most Important Part of Financial Reform Bill
- Unfair Trade Practices Are Wiping Out Jobs
- In a Welfare State How Much Is 'Enough'?
- Should Investors Sit This One Out?
- Why Jobless Teens May Have More to Blame Than the Recession
- What Home Sales Jump Means for Economic Recovery
- Home Prices Have Further to Fall: Here's Why
- Why Housing is Headed for Second-Half Headaches
- Nancy Pelosi Will Lead America to National Ruin
- Financial Reform's Uncertain Promise
- The Way We're Working Isn't Working
- What Gold Can and Cannot Do For You
- Why Some Women Skirt the Wage Gap
- The Crippling Price of Public Employee Unions
- European Union Funding Proposal Is Only the Beginning
- Why Wall Street's Gain Has Been America's Loss
- Euro Crisis has American Fingerprints
- Wall Street Probes: Collateralized Debt Obligations
- Voters See Debt Crisis. Why Doesn't Washington?
- Social Security Inflation Adjustment Debate
- European Debt Crisis Affects Investments
- Greece: Model of Socialistic Excess
- Who Got Hit Worst in the Market Crash
- Expeditionary Economics: Spurring Growth After Conflicts and Disasters
- Why More Diplomacy Won't Keep the Financial System Safe
- Muddling through Greece's Tremors
- Greece Financial Crisis Raises Doubts About European Union
- Bigger Is Better: Case for Transatlantic Economic Union
- European Union: A Fragile Partnership
- Goldman Sachs Testimony Boost for Financial Reform
- A Culture of Criminality on Wall Street
- Greek Debt Crisis May Hurt Latin America Economy
- Why April's Unemployment Rise Shows Workers Hopeful Again
- Smart Moves for Tomorrow's Higher Interest Rates
- Still the Optimist
- The Global Glass Ceiling: Why Empowering Women Is Good for Business
- Life in the Age of 'Much Worse Than We Thought It Would Be'
- What 3.2 Percent GDP Growth Says About Our Contradictory Economy
- Congress Had a Role in the Financial Crisis
- Just a Few Questions for the SEC
- Financial Crisis - Somebody Must Pay!
- Is Latin America Booming? Not Quite Yet
- Guns vs. Butter 2010
- Your Guide to the Goldman Sachs Lawsuit
- Can SEC Beat Goldman Sachs?
- Time to Break up the Big Banks
- Resisting Wall Street Reform
- Shorting The Middle Class: The Real Wall Street Crime
- Obama Edge on Financial Reform
- 10 Cities Facing Double Whammy of Default Risks
- Capitalism vs. Capitalists
- Business Schools' Great Ethics Debate
Jobs Report Paints a Picture of Nervous Employers
(c) 2010 U.S. News & World Report