The U.S. Department of Treasury weighed in on the mixed jobs report for July on Friday, saying although the unemployment rate is up, added jobs last month show "labor market conditions continue to improve gradually over time."
"The employment report that was released this morning was a mixed report," Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Jan Eberly told reporters Friday.
Eberly highlighted the discrepancies between increased hourly wages, the rise in aggregate hours and the 173,000 jobs added in July and the rise in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent.
The latter was due to an increase in unemployment among 16 to 19-year-olds of 0.1 percent to 23.8 percent in July. Unemployment for most other age groups were unchanged, she added.
"There's a lot of volatility in that age group and also at this time of year," Eberly noted, referencing cyclical summer jobs losses. "Summer seasonals are particularly hard to pin down."
An additional 163,000 non-farm jobs were added in July, a sharp increase from the average monthly gain of 73,000. Private firms also added 72,000 jobs last month. This was the 29th straight month of such gains and represented the largest increase since February.
Jobs were added in the service, automobile and professional/business sectors as well as in food service and manufacturing. Although construction jobs fell by 1,000 in July, the decline was due a 13,000 drop in specialty trade contractors (plumbers, roofers and finish carpenters) and a substantial 12,000 rise in residential and commercial contracting.
The temporary employment sector, generally viewed as a precursor to full time employment, also added 14,000 jobs in July, down from the 25,000 added in June.
In the public sector, jobs were lost again, continuing the downward trend of recent months. The federal and state governments lost 7,000 jobs, while locally, 6,000 non-education jobs were added while 7,000 education jobs were lost.
"The administration remains committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the economy, and thus the labor market, continue to strengthen," Eberly said, adding President Barack Obama continued to support assistance to state and local governments to prevent layoffs for teachers and first responders.
Highlighting the White House's specific policies, Eberly noted the president was working to enact elements of the American Jobs Act to create jobs such as infrastructure investment. He again urged Congress to pass his middle class tax cut this week, she said.
"Without this extension, the typical middle class family of four would see its tax bill rise by $2,200 on the first of the year," she said. "This would be a blow to 114 million middle class families and would impose an additional drag on the economy."
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com