- Government data out Friday indicated that hiring in the US remained at a healthy pace in July despite a cooling economy.
- The Labor Department said the US added 164,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, increasing the size of the labor force to its largest ever.
- The labor market has added jobs for a record 106 straight months, a streak kept alive even with the high from tax cuts fading and President Donald Trump escalating tariff disputes with some of the US’s largest trading partners.
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US government data out Friday showed that hiring remained at a healthy pace in July despite a cooling economy.
The Labor Department said the US added 164,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, in line with economist expectations. That was fewer than the blockbuster increase in June but enough to keep unemployment levels near historic lows. At 3.7%, the unemployment rate was unchanged from the prior month.
"In general, this jobs report was fine but not spectacular," said Martha Gimbel, an economist at the career site Indeed. "That being said, job growth is not at a level that should cause concern for jobseekers. The economy is still expanding, just at a slower pace."
The labor market was able to pull some Americans from the sidelines in July, with the total US labor force up to a record high of 163.4 million. The labor-force participation rate edged up to 63%, a figure that is still low by historical standards and compared with other countries.
Average hourly earnings increased 3.2% from a year earlier. While wages have risen at or above that pace since late 2018, there have been growing concerns that growth has flatlined.
The labor market has added jobs for a record 106 straight months, a streak kept alive even as the high from tax cuts fades and as President Donald Trump escalates economic disputes with some of the US’s largest trading partners. But the latest gross-domestic-product report measuring the size of the US economy suggested tariffs had started to put pressure on sectors like manufacturing.
The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates by a quarter percentage point Wednesday as policymakers weighed a solid labor market against a flurry of strains, including the high degree of uncertainty surrounding trade.
Friday’s jobs report was unlikely to temper expectations for the central bank to take further steps to sustain the record-long expansion.Trump announced on Thursday he would slap additional tariffs on virtually all remaining imports from China beginning September 1, a move that would rattle both of the largest economies.
"The economic data are yet again subordinate to political and market events, which have made a September easing more likely," said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "The economy does not need lower rates if the threatened tariffs ultimately are not imposed, but if they happen, just in time to crimp hiring ahead of the holidays in the expectation that higher prices will hit spending, then the Fed likely will act."
On average, the US added a solid 140,000 jobs a month between May and July.
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