Employers added more jobs than forecast in July, the jobless rate fell and wages climbed, easing concern the U.S. economy is grinding to a halt.
Payrolls rose by 117,000 workers after a 46,000 increase in June that was more than originally estimated, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a July gain of 85,000. The jobless rate dropped to 9.1 percent as more Americans left the labor force, while average hourly earnings climbed 0.4 percent.
Job gains may need to accelerate further to bolster consumer spending, which rose last quarter at the slowest pace in two years. Weaker growth puts more pressure on Federal Reserve policy makers meeting next week to try to steer the world’s largest economy away from another recession at a time when inflation is also accelerating.
“The labor market, despite some gains, remains in a rather fragile state,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, said before the report. Rupkey projected payrolls would increase by 130,000. “Businesses remain cautious and it will take a number of years before the unemployment rate gets back to pre-recession levels. The anxiety level is high and risks of a slowdown are everywhere.”
Right now, the BLS website is down so I can't look at the underlying data.
This not a great report, but it is fair and in line with what I wrote yesterday regarding the economy. We're not in great shape, but we're also not looking at Armageddon.