U.S. Employment Numbers — It’s Better Than You Think

Several decades ago there was a company that literally plastered a major event in Denver, Colorado, with thousands of yellow circular stickers that simply read It’s Better Than You Think. Great logo, but to this day I still have no idea what they were selling. So I propose the U.S. economy adapt that as the official logo – at least for the time being. It fits well.

July 2014 saw another 209,000 net new jobs added. That makes the sixth month in a row that net new job creation was greater than 200,000. The last time we saw six consecutive months of 200,000+ jobs was 1997. In the latest 12-months the U.S. added 2.57 million net new jobs. The last time the U.S. created 2.57 million or more jobs in 12 months was April 2006. It’s better than you think.

The following graph shows monthly job numbers on seasonally-adjusted basis. Once again, the U.S. has more jobs than any time in history.

8-1-14a graph1

The next graph shows the monthly change in the number of jobs sequentially from the prior month. Note the relative consistency in recent years.

8-1-14a graph2

Other metrics in the latest jobs report include:

  • Unchanged from June, 7.5 million people that desire full-time positions have only part time work, and are referred to as Involuntary Part-Time Workers
  • 2.2 million people that had looked for a job in the past 12-months, are not employed, but had not looked for a job in the past four weeks were no longer consider unemployed – they are referred to as Marginally Attached to the Labor Force
  • Among those classified as Marginally Attached to the Labor Force, 741,000 are classified as Discouraged Workers since they have not searched for a job in the prior four weeks because they believe there are no jobs available. This group shrunk by 247,000 in the past 12-months
  • Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs in July, with a total new job count in the past 12 months of 648,000
  • Manufacturing grew 28,000 jobs last month, and 144,000 in the past year
  • Retail trade gained 27,000 jobs in July, and 298,000 net new jobs in the prior 12 months
  • Construction grew by 22,000 in July, or 211,000 in the past year – the gain being primarily residential in nature
  • Social assistance added 110,000 in the past year, with 18,000 new jobs in July
  • Mining (which also includes oil and gas) grew 8,000 jobs last month and 46,000 in the past year
  • While leisure and hospitality was essentially flat in July, in the past year the sector gained 375,000 jobs and now has the greatest employment level in history

The downside of this is that the economy is doing so well, expect interest rates to rise quicker than they otherwise would have done.

While there was a disappointment in no gain in average hourly earnings (the average hourly wage rose by 1 cent to $24.45), 58 percent of the jobs created in the first six months of 2014 paid more than the average hourly wage.

Jobs are everything—and we are gaining jobs at a rate not seen in years.

It’s better than you think.


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