Though the U.S. unemployment rate didn’t change much, July had an employment increase of 209,000 for nonfarm payroll jobs in July, according to a news release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
From June to July, the unemployment rate stayed pretty consistent, changing from 6.1% to 6.2%. Since 2013, the unemployment rate has dropped by 1.1% and there are 1.7 million fewer people unemployed.
July’s employment increase wasn’t as high as economists predicted, according to Reuters. After a big increase of 298,000 positions in June, July’s expected job increase was 233,000 jobs.
Despite the lower than expected employment increase, July was the sixth consecutive month of the U.S. having more than 200,000 new jobs added, something that hasn’t happed since 1997.
Additional data from May and June also uncovered that 15,000 more positions were filled than what was originally reported.
The business sector had an employment increase of 47,000 new jobs in July, with upward trends continuing throughout most of the industry. In the past year, 648,000 positions were created in professional and business services.
Manufacturing also saw an employment increase in July with 28,000 new jobs added. Over the past year, this field has averaged 12,000 new jobs per month.
Retail jobs also are on the rise with 27,000 new positions added in July. Some retail sectors are doing particularly well, with upward trends showing for general merchandise retailers, automobile dealerships and food and beverage stores. Since last year, the retail sector has added 298,000 jobs.
Hourly earnings were also on the rise in July with the average hourly wages for all employees increasing 1 cent to $24.45 per hour. Hourly earnings have increased by 2% over the last year.
The average number of hours that Americans worked each week remained at 34.5 hours for the fifth consecutive month.