Unemployment at 7.4 percent nationwide

August 2, 2013

Online Staff Report

The nationwide unemployment rate edged down to 7.4 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Aug. 2.

Employment rose in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities and wholesale trade. Overall, 162,000 jobs were created in July.

Both the number of unemployed people, at 11.5 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.4 percent, edged down in July. Over the year, these measures were down by 1.2 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (6.5 percent) and blacks (12.6 percent) declined in July. The rates for adult men (7 percent), teen-agers (23.7 percent), whites (6.6 percent) and Hispanics (9.4 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.7 percent, little changed from a year earlier.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 4.2 million. These individuals accounted for 37 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 921,000 over the past year.

The civilian labor force participation rate was 63.4 percent in July, little changed over the month. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.7 percent.

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, 2.4 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from 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 988,000 discouraged workers in July, up by 136,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are people not looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million people marginally attached to the labor force in July had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Over the prior 12 months, nonfarm employment growth averaged 189,000 per month.

Retail trade added 47,000 jobs in July and has added 352,000 over the past 12 months. In July, job growth occurred in general merchandise stores (plus 9,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (plus 6,000), building material and garden supply stores (plus 6,000), and health and personal care stores (plus 5,000).

Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places increased by 38,000 in July and by 381,000 over the year.

Financial activities employment increased by 15,000 in July, with a gain of 6,000 in securities, commodity contracts and investments. Over the year, financial activities has added 120,000 jobs.

Employment increased in wholesale trade (plus 14,000) in July. Over the past 12 months, this industry has added 83,000 jobs.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in July (plus 36,000). Within the industry, job growth continued in management of companies and enterprises (plus 7,000) and in management and technical consulting services (plus 7,000). Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month.

Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in July and has changed little, on net, over the past 12 months. Within the industry, employment in motor vehicles and parts rose by 9,000 in July.

Employment in health care was essentially unchanged over the month. Thus far in 2013, health care has added an average of 16,000 jobs per month, compared with an average monthly increase of 27,000 in 2012.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, transportation and warehousing, and government, showed little change in July.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour in July to 34.4 hours. In manufacturing, the workweek decreased by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, and overtime declined by 0.2 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours.

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 2 cents to $23.98, following a 10-cent increase in June. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 44 cents, or 1.9 percent. In July, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at $20.14.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from plus 195,000 to plus 176,000, and the change for June was revised from plus 195,000 to plus 188,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 26,000 less than previously reported.

The Rockford metropolitan area’s unemployment rate was 11 percent in June. The June 2013 Illinois rate was 9.8 percent. Statewide numbers for July will be released Aug. 15 and Illinois metro area data will be released Aug. 22.

Posted Aug. 2, 2013

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