The July jobs report has been released, ushering in the sixth straight month where over 200,000 payroll jobs were added to the American economy. It’s a consecutive streak that hasn’t been achieved since 1997. Though not quite for the record books, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows steady recovery in employment and labor force participation, a boon that can drive the market forward in the coming months.
Steady Numbers Paint a Strong Picture
The BLS July jobs report announced that 209,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added to the economy. That number, though short of the original economist predictions of 230,000, still means that we haven’t had a jobs report that dipped below 200,000 since January (February was revised up to 203,000 in the April jobs report). With the trend in the BLS to report low and revise upward as late data is tabulated in the following months, it’s not inconceivable for us to hit the 230,000 payroll marker eventually.
Speaking of revisions, the BLS has continued to make positive adjustments to previous jobs reports. The June jobs report was elevated from 288,000 up to 298,000 payroll jobs, inching it closer to the 300,000 mark that the April jobs report surpassed in June. The May jobs report was amended up from an already revised 224,000 jobs to 229,000 total.
Unemployment numbers saw slight fluctuations up from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent nationwide. On a state by state basis, there was some change in the overall range in June. North Dakota moved from 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent and Rhode Island dropped from 8.2 percent to 7.9 percent. At the very least, these numbers show an overall decrease of the unemployment apex.
Labor force participation numbers edged up from 62.8 percent to 62.9 percent. That means more people are moving up into permanent employment or are returning to their job search. It’s a resurgence that shows a healthy luster returning to the economy, but where are the most jobs being added?
The information technology sector saw a slight dip from the previous month, but the numbers were still predominately good. On the whole, 8,400 new payroll jobs were added to the information technology sector. That breaks down to 3,900 in computer systems design services, 800 in telecommunications, and 3,700 in data processing services. In spite of a large drop in computer system design, the rest of the tech sector has continued to keep up overall numbers.
There are positive signs for continued industry growth in the coming months. The CareerBuilder 2014 Midyear Job Forecast surveyed U.S. employers and found that over 59 percent in the information technology field anticipated hiring new full-time, permanent employees.
On top of that, two of the top three hot areas for hiring were in IT: mobile technology and cloud technology. Mobile developers, virtual server engineers, systems administrators, and IT security personal can all look forward to greater opportunities in the coming months.
Manufacturing added a whopping 28,000 new payroll jobs, almost doubling the amount added the month before. The divide between durable and nondurable goods still exists.
Durable goods as a grand total was up 30,000 payroll jobs, far surpassing the June numbers. The largest gains came from transportation equipment with 19,200 jobs, furniture manufacturing with 3,200 jobs, and fabricated metals with 2,600 jobs.
Nondurable goods continued to ebb with 2,000 jobs lost in the last month. The bulk of that came from the food processing sector, which lost 3,600 payroll jobs the month before (the addition in textile mills and other sectors helped to whittle down the impact of that loss). As “exceptional drought” conditions spread across 58 percent of California, we may be looking at a continued decline.
The engineering and construction field continued to plow onwards and add more jobs to the overall economy. In the July jobs report, the architectural/engineering services sector added 8,800 new jobs and the heavy and civil engineering sector added 2,500 new jobs. However, construction spending decreased 1.8 percent in June, which could indicate a more substantial decline in the coming months.
The accounting sector is continuing on a positive trajectory with 5,200 new jobs being added to the overall economy. That number is definitely a decrease from the 6,300 new accounting positions the month before, but still keeps up a positive trend for this critical industry.
Light industrial, which compiles a mixture of different disciplines, saw overall positive growth during the July jobs report. Collectively, 1,700 jobs were added to the market. That breaks down to 2,400 new jobs being added to the warehousing and storage sector while 700 jobs were lost in the repair and maintenance industries.
Though not quite exceptional, the July jobs report is definitely showing continued growth that, if nurtured correctly, can lead to substantial advancement of the overall market.
by James Walsh