The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July employment report shows middling growth in the labor market. It shows no hint of economic backsliding, but it also shows few signs of the robust growth many economists hoped for—and expected.
The establishment survey found employers added a net 209,000 jobs in July—matching the average growth over the past 12 months. This represents decent job growth, but it throws cold water on hopes that the almost 300,000 net jobs added in June reflected an accelerating labor market. Furthermore, wages tend to rise and workweeks lengthen when the job market heats up; neither happened in July. Average workweeks remained flat (34.5 hours) while average hourly earnings rose one cent to $24.45. June’s encouraging numbers now look like statistical noise around a trend of more modest growth.