- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
- ISTOOK: IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader
- Easter woes: Chocolate costs soar, becoming ‘unaffordable’ luxury
- Michaels craft chain confirms hackers hit 3M customers
- Special Forces’ suicide rates hit record levels — casualties of ‘hard combat’
Unemployment falls to 7.4 percent in July; job growth slows
The nation’s unemployment rate last month dropped from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent, the lowest level in 4½ years, as businesses added another 162,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
While the jobless rate has fallen quickly from over 8 percent in the last year, overall job growth has slowed somewhat in recent months from the strong 200,000 a month pace set earlier in the year. Revisions showed that 26,000 fewer jobs were created in May and June than previously reported.
“Definitely a bit soft,” said Brian Battle, director at Performance Trust Capital Partners. “200,000 is really the benchmark for maintaining the employment rate.”
Hiring was particularly strong in restaurants, big-box stores and other retail outlets, however. About 47,000 new jobs were created in department stores, home improvement stores and auto dealerships.
Eateries took on another 38,000 employees. Taken together, hiring at the malls has surged by more than 700,000 in the last year.
In some of the first evidence of the government-wide spending cuts that have prompted widespread furloughs of federal workers in recent months, the average workweek fell slightly to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours.
“The rise in payrolls was offset by a shortening of the workweek,” said Justin Wolfers, economics professors at the University of Michigan, adding that’s a “worrying detail” in what was otherwise a “steady as she goes, amazingly consistent” jobs report.
Other than the slight decline in hours worked, however, there’s little other evidence of the across-the-board spending cuts that started taking effect in March, he said.
“Here’s the puzzle: Where’s the sequester?” he asked, noting that federal employment outside the Postal Service was flat in July after declining by 10,000 in June.
The sequester is having an impact outside government, however, in sectors such as health care and defense that thrive on government spending.
With cuts in Medicare ordered at the federal level and many state governments chiseling away at Medicaid spending, private health care job growth has been anemic this year.
Last month, hospitals and doctors’ offices added no new staff, and the average job growth in health care of 16,000 a month so far this year is almost half of last year’s growth rate of 27,000.
Wage growth also remains anemic at 1.9 percent in the last year — about half the rate of growth seen in the fourth year of previous economic recoveries.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- U.S. Treasury warns China on currency
- IMF gives U.S. Congress year-end deadline for passing reforms
- IMF eyes 'Plan B' for reforming itself without U.S.
- Russia, China leading efforts to bypass U.S. as IMF reforms stall on Capitol Hill
- Jobs: U.S. private sector finally makes up recession's losses
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Immigration still on hold: Boehner's office
- Supreme Court weighs appeal to concealed-carry gun laws
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- BRUCE: Obama deliberately emboldening America's enemies
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.