Employers Add Fewer Jobs Than Expected

But the figure of 187K in July is still a solid one
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 4, 2023 8:02 AM CDT
Employers Add Fewer Jobs Than Expected
A hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Monday, June 12, 2023.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

US employers added 187,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected, as the higher interest rates continued to weigh on the economy. But the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5% in a sign that the job market remains resilient, per the AP. Hiring was up from 185,000 in June, a figure that the Labor Department revised downward from an originally reported 209,000. Economists had expected to see 200,000 new jobs in July. Still last month's hiring was solid, considering that the Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest 11 times since March 2022.

And the Fed's inflation fighters will welcome news that more Americans entered the job market last month, easing pressure on employers to raise wages to attract and keep staff. However, CNBC notes that another aspect of the report might not please the Fed: Average hourly wages rose more than expected in July, 0.4% for the month and 4.4% on an annual basis. The uptick points to continued inflation.

There's other evidence that the job market, while still healthy, is losing momentum. The Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings fell below 9.6 million in June, the lowest in more than two years. But, again, the numbers remain unusually robust: Monthly job openings never topped 8 million before 2021. The number of people quitting their jobs—a sign of confidence they can find something better elsewhere—also fell in June but remains above pre-pandemic levels. (More unemployment stories.)

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