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Unemployment Rate Falls to 7-Year Best of 5.1% With Job Creation at 173,000

| September 4, 2015

july 2015 unemployment

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s been more than seven years since the unemployment rate was this low: 5.1 percent in July, a rate not bested since April 2008, when it was rising rapidly as the second recession on President Bush’s watch was shredding payrolls. The July unemployment rate fell two decimal points, from 5.3 percent in June, and a full percentage point from a year ago.

But the economy added only 173,000 jobs, perhaps signaling a slow-down even as the last three months’ job creation totaled a healthy 663,000 jobs, and the 2015 total is at 1.7 million new jobs–400,000 more jobs created in eight months than the entire eight years of the second Bush’s presidency.

But underlying factors remain weak: there were still 6.5 million workers employed part-time for economic reasons. Those are called involuntary part-time workers whose hours have been cut back from full-time work, or who couldn’t find full-time employment. The civilian labor participation rate is still at 62.6 percent, where it’s been for three successive months, well below the rate in 2005, when it was 65.8 percent. Although there are 1.5 million fewer unemployed workers today than a year ago, 8 million people are still unemployed, including 2.2 million long-term unemployed (those who have been unemployed for more than half a year.)

Wages are looking up slightly, but still not enough to make a difference in most workers’ standards of living. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 8 cents to $25.09, following a 6-cent gain in July, a rare two-month improvement in an era of stagnant wages that have not kept up with the cost of inflation.

“While the Great Recession is behind us, not every household is experiencing rising incomes and living standards,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement this morning. “So many people are still struggling to find work. Even many of those who have jobs find themselves running in place, still unable to get ahead despite working harder than ever. For an even more robust recovery that lifts up more people, we need Congress to come together to raise the national minimum wage and pass a transportation infrastructure bill, along with avoiding self-inflicted wounds by eliminating sequestration.

“It’s also critical that workers have the ability to stand up and speak out for better wages, benefits and working conditions. The labor movement and union membership have traditionally been our most powerful expressions of worker voice. Next month when President Obama convenes a Summit on Worker Voice, we will focus on ways to strengthen organizing efforts and protect collective bargaining rights, in addition to exploring new models for empowering workers.”

Health care and social assistance such as child care and services for the elderly or disabled added 56,000 jobs in August. Those are mostly low-paying jobs. Over the year, employment has risen by 457,000 in health care and by 107,000 in social assistance. Financial activities employment increased by 19,000, with job gains in real estate (8,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and
investments (5,000). Those tend to be better-paying jobs. Employment in food services and bars rose 26,000, but manufacturing decreased by 17,000 and by 9,000 in mining. Since reaching a peak in December 2014, mining employment has declined by 90,000, a reflecting of the battered coal industry, where costs have been undercut by cheaper, cleaner fuels.

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10 Responses for “Unemployment Rate Falls to 7-Year Best of 5.1% With Job Creation at 173,000”

  1. Knightwatch says:

    Well, conservative know-nothings. Let’s see you spin this. Wait … here it comes … “we have 90 million unemployed Americans (that’s what, 30% unemployment?), most of those jobs are part time and millions of people left the work force and have given up. There is no hope, we’re doomed!”

    Trump will fix this. He loves the unemployed and they just adore him.

  2. snapperhead says:

    Yeah… well wait until the Donald gets in office…unemployment will go to -5%….We’ll have to import those Mexicans, Japanese and Chinese people he loves so much to sustain the economy. Companies will be begging to relocate here because the Donald is just that good. Isis will be so scared of our military they’ll surrender all arms and go work for UNICEF. We’ll have a big beautiful fence to keep all those druggies and rapists out. We’ll all have cheaper more efficient health care.And his plans for women, whom he cherishes so much, is going to be unbelievable…. I can hardly wait….Donald Donald Donald!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Yawny says:

    Same BS……same economy !!!! Oh look the DOW is DOWN again ….SURPRISE !!!!!

  4. dsjii says:

    The last paragraph of this article really says it all. Look at it closely. The majority of the new jobs we are creating consist of low paying part-time work. We can all argue about the reasons for this epidemic of part time employment supplanting full time employment, but the fact remains that this is becoming the new “normal” for a significant sector of our blue collar workforce.

    Through our legislation over the past years we have “incentivized” our businesses (small and Large, local and global) to hire people part time to help increase the bottom line. We all are probably aware of the wages and benefits that part-time employees Do Not receive when compared to their full-time counterparts.

    This trend has only been exacerbated as full-time “union” jobs leave our shores at an alarming rate along with the influx of tens of millions of illegal aliens (from what-ever country). This is further compounded by the “global economy” theory that seems to be working well for everyone but U.S. citizens.

    These aren’t exclusively Democrat or Republican created problems. They have been in the making for decades through leadership from both parties. “Compromise” has been a dirty word for too long in our Legislative and Executive branches of Government and we citizens deserve a change in that thought process. I guess I hold out faint hope that one day we can come together as the United States rather than as rabid Democrats and Republicans.

  5. Sherry E says:

    Well said dsjiii! I would, however, add that we simply cannot legislate/regulate ethics, honor, integrity. We cannot force a business owner or manager to place employees above profit. And, you are quite correct, it has been coming for many years and both political parties have been complicit in the corruption of capitalism= American Greed!

    Perhaps it all begins with each of us making “profits over people”, completely ” Socially Unacceptable”.
    Specific things I would love to see added to that list are:

    1. Moving jobs to other countries to maximize profits
    2. Hiding assets/moving $ off shore to avoid paying taxes
    3. Hiring illegal immigrants and paying them “under the table”
    4. Declaring bankruptcy, as often as legally possible, to avoid paying creditors
    5. Firing employees right before they are ready to retire to avoid paying them retirement benefits
    6. Lying, Cheating, Stealing, etc. etc. etc.

    • Knightwatch says:

      Sherry E, your points encapsulate the downside of capitalism, but unless we choose to regulate the business sector more actively, we have to take the good with the bad to protect “free enterprise’

      That’s life in a democracy. Mostly great … sometimes not so.

  6. groot says:

    Most of the jobs here are service oriented and don’t have benefits. This area still has low property values. We missed out on the boom after the recession. We never really never left it.

  7. Sherry E says:

    Right On Groot! Our illustrious “I’ll create Jobs” governor and his cronies in Tallahassee have done absolutely NOTHING to successfully attract decent paying, full time jobs, with benefits. Oh Yes. . . they have offered massive tax cuts to companies, while cutting vital services to children and those adults who desperately need them. . . but to no avail.

    Other states have cultivated the more high tech industries of the future. They have focused on educating their young people by developing top notch universities. . . NOT budget cutting. They have embraced the possibilities of clean, renewable energy systems. . . while Florida is stuck in the past of fossil fuels and raising rates to develop nuclear energy. They have developed new public transit systems by accepting Federal money, while we have very elderly high risk drivers on I95 because they have no other options.

    Until we clean out the rats nest of the “good ole boys” in Tallahassee, we’ll never have a brighter future in Florida!

  8. Gia says:

    I said it before, it will take another 5 years at least to see realistic jobs. Until then, just part time low pay jobs.

  9. Lancer says:

    Oh yes! The economy is “booming” and it’s all because of the trillions in stimulus and TARP that a democrat congress spent, right??!! After all, we should all quit our jobs and work for government and that’d solve all our problems, right??!!

    Government employees outnumber Manufacturing employees 1.8 to 1. If you don’t see anything wrong with this, you either: are a outright socialist or work for the government.

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