Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade, and construction.
One of the better data points in the report:
The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, changed little in July. The participation rate has been essentially unchanged since April. The employment-population ratio, at 59.0 percent, was unchanged over the month but has edged up by 0.3 percentage point over the past 12 months.
The participation rate still faces downward pressure because of demographics — as the baby boomers go into retirement, we will see that rate go down. We have also likely seen the rate fall as some discouraged workers drop out of the labor force, and we might even have seen the rate fall for “positive” reasons, like families no longer needing to rely on two incomes as the economy improves.
The possibility that the participation rate has more or less leveled off suggests that the recovery has gained enough strength so that more people are entering or remaining in the labor force despite the downward pressures.
2014 is on pace to be the strongest year for private sector job growth since the 1990s — a fact that seems completely at odds with all the dire rhetoric about Obamacare and moves by the current administration.
We are adding far more jobs per month than necessary to keep pace with population growth.
A couple of graphs from the BLS: