Building on momentum gained from June's rebound, the U.S. economy added 255,000 nonfarm payroll positions in July, according to the latest monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), released this morning. July's seasonally adjusted figure—still a modest drop from June's upward-revised addition of 292,000 jobs—comes in ahead of analyst expectations. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in July, while the labor-force participation rate changed little at 62.8 percent for the month. Average hourly wages for private, nonfarm workers continued to rise to $25.69 in July, an 8-cent gain month-over-month.
“Labor demand is holding up pretty well,” JPMorgan Chase economist Jesse Edgerton told Bloomberg. “The labor market is firming up. Wages are starting to pick up. It’s a positive for consumer spending. This will reinforce the Fed’s view that improvement in the labor market is likely to continue.”
Construction employment did an about-face in July, adding 14,000 payroll positions following a gloomy three months of decline and lining up with favorable economist forecasts previously reported by ARCHITECT. The manufacturing sector, which has been a soft spot in the economy lately, continued its recovery in July, adding 9,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the payrolls in the architectural and engineering services sector gained 6,500 positions in July, its third-straight month of growth.
From the BLS's historical data release: The BLS also releases detailed information subsets of key markets with a one month lag, in this case offering more detailed information of the architectural and engineering services category's response to the broader economy's hiring slowdown in June. The charts below highlight a monthly job-growth breakdown of the architectural services, landscape architectural services, and engineering and drafting services between June 2015 and June 2016. Details of these subcategories' July performance will be revealed in next month's historical data release.