Speed Reads

Jobs Numbers

The U.S. economy created 215,000 jobs in July

This morning's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the U.S. economy created 215,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent. That was a bit below economists' expectations, as they anticipated a 225,000 jobs gain.

The monthly average over the past year has been 244,583, which is enough to increase overall employment even when population growth is factored in. To close the hole left by the Great Recession by summer of 2017, the economy needs to average 246,000 jobs a month.

May's job numbers were revised up, from 254,000 to 260,000, as were June's numbers, from 223,000 to 231,000. The labor force participation rate stayed steady at 62.6 percent after declining the month before. That's good, and could actually explain why the unemployment rate didn't fall, as the denominator for the unemployment rate is labor force participation.

Average hourly earnings rose by 2.1 percent to $24.99. So the growth trend there is still flat, suggesting the bottom-up pressure that indicates full employment has yet to materialize.