Nationwide unemployment rate rises slightly, Romney goes on the attack

Online Staff Report

The nationwide unemployment rate rose slightly from 8.2 percent in June to 8.3 percent in July, triggering presumptive Republican nominee for president former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to go on the attack against President Barack Obama.

In a statement released shortly after the release of the July jobs report, Romney said the slight increase in the unemployment rate was a “hammer blow to struggling middle-class families.”

My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with 12 million new jobs created by the end of my first term,” Romney said.

According to the July jobs report released Aug. 3 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 163,000 jobs were added in July, with employment rising in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and manufacturing.

At a White House press conference in June, Obama argued the private sector was performing better than the public sector. Romney attempted to capitalize on that remark by stating Obama “doesn’t have a plan and believes that the private sector is ‘doing fine.’”

Obama later clarified his remark, stating “It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”

According to reports, Obama and Romney are expected to comment on the new jobs report at events later this morning, Aug. 3.

Data released July 26 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security showed the Rockford metropolitan area had the highest unemployment rate (11.5 percent) of the state’s 12 metropolitan areas in June. The statewide unemployment rate has dropped every month this year and was at 8.7 percent in June.

July jobs report: Household survey

According to the Aug. 3 nationwide BLS report, both the number of unemployed people (12.8 million) and the unemployment rate (8.3 percent) were essentially unchanged in July. Both measures have shown little movement thus far in 2012.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics (10.3 percent) edged down in July, while the rates for adult men (7.7 percent), adult women (7.5 percent), teen-agers (23.8 percent), whites (7.4 percent) and blacks (14.1 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.2 percent in July, little changed from a year earlier.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and longer) was little changed at 5.2 million. These individuals accounted for 40.7 percent of the unemployed.

Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.7 percent, and the employment- population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little in July.

The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. These individuals were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In July, 2.5 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, down from 2.8 million a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 852,000 discouraged workers in July, a decline of 267,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.7 million people marginally attached to the labor force in July had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

July jobs report: Establishment survey data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 163,000 in July. Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. In July, employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and manufacturing.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 49,000 in July. Computer systems design added 7,000 jobs, and employment in temporary help services continued to trend up (plus 14,000 jobs).

Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 29,000 over the month and by 292,000 over the past 12 months.

Manufacturing employment rose in July (plus 25,000 jobs), with nearly all of the increase in durable goods manufacturing. Within durable goods, the motor vehicles and parts industry had fewer seasonal layoffs than is typical for July, contributing to a seasonally adjusted employment increase of 13,000. Employment continued to trend up in fabricated metal products (plus 5,000 jobs).

Employment continued to trend up in health care in July (plus 12,000 jobs), with over-the-month gains in outpatient care centers (plus 4,000 jobs) and in hospitals (plus 5,000 jobs). Employment also continued to trend up in wholesale trade.

Utilities employment declined in July (minus 8,000 jobs). The decrease reflects 8,500 utility workers who were off payrolls as a result of a labor-management dispute.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in July. Both the manufacturing workweek, at 40.7 hours, and factory overtime, at 3.2 hours, were unchanged over the month. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 2 cents to $23.52. Over the year, average hourly earnings rose by 1.7 percent. In July, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 2 cents to $19.77.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from plus 77,000 jobs to plus 87,000 jobs, and the change for June was revised from plus 80,000 to plus 64,000.

Posted Aug. 3, 2012

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