Jobs report misses as unemployment rate slides near 18-year low

Jobs report misses as unemployment rate slides near 18-year low

Jobs report misses as unemployment rate slides near 18-year low

US job growth slowed more than expected in July as employment in the transportation and utilities sectors fell, but a drop in the unemployment rate suggested that the labor market was tightening.

The US economy added 157,000 jobs in July - 33,000 fewer than expected and well below the 248,000 created in June.

Thirty-seven percent of responding small business owners said they had job openings they could not fill, the highest number since the Monthly Jobs Report began, the NFIB said August 2. The jobless rate is projected to decline to 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low, from 4 percent.

Unemployment as a measure that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons, also declined to 7.9% from 8.1%.

Experts blamed some of the change on closing retail stores, but said the labor market remains tight, with more openings than jobs overall.

After remaining elevated for years after the Great Recession, the number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time work has fallen almost 13 percent in the past year and now stands at 4.6 million.

The economy grew in the April-June quarter at its fastest pace in four years.

Wages remain the only red flag in the USA labor market.

Average hourly earnings increased seven cents, or 0.3%, in July after gaining 0.1% in June.

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The gain in payrolls was concentrated at private employers, which added 170,000 jobs, while the public sector cut 13,000 positions.

If the pace of hiring continues at the same rate it has since January, the United States is likely to add about 2.6 million jobs this year, which would be the strongest since 2015.

Job gains were seen in the durable goods manufacturing and health care sectors as well as in restaurants and bars. Year-on-year growth was unchanged at 2.7%.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly in July, while job gains were lower than many analysts predicted.

Transportation payrolls dropped by 1,300 jobs last month, with transit and ground transportation employment declining by 14,800 jobs.

Wall Street finished higher despite the disappointing jobs report, which coincided with a surprising leap in the trade deficit.

"The vast majority of the jobs we're adding are in services, which tend to be low-wage sectors", said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.

"While this increased employment is undoubtedly good news, job growth exacerbates the monumental manufacturing workforce shortage", she said.

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