Data from the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said 209,000 new jobs were created in July across a broad swath of industries. The agency also adjusted upward by 15,000 its initial numbers for May and June.
Healthcare, one of the consistently strong growth areas throughout the last several years, added 21,500 workers, though hospitals and nursing homes and care facilities cut a combined 14,300. Temp employment was up, but by 8,500 workers, the smallest increase since October.
Manufacturing, construction, retail, financial services, leisure and hospitality, all saw significant increases., a sign that despite some bumps, employers are confident enough to add jobs.
Although the BLS said unemployment nosed up slightly to 6.2%, that was caused by a trickle of additional workers, perhaps buoyed by the improving economy, reentering the labor market.
Earlier this week, the non-profit business research group The Conference Board said its measure of consumer confidence jumped 4.5 points to 90.9, the highest since before the recession.
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Even though this morning’s government jobs number was lower than the 230,000 or so economists were predicting, it comes on the heels of other upbeat news, including Wednesday’s Commerce Department report which said the economy grew at a robust 4% in the 2nd quarter. New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in eight years. And, two of the the three publicly traded job boards posted significant gains in revenue and earnings. (A third — Monster — has yet to report.)
Now, the July jobs report shows employers in several traditionally higher wage industries are feeling confident about hiring. Here are some specifics from the report:
- Construction added 22,000 jobs, with home builders expanding 6,100.
- Manufacturing grew 28,000 workers, with the biggest increase coming in motor vehicles and parts. But even the battered furniture industry added 3,200 jobs.
- Retail jobs increased by 26,700, with those in food and beverage and clothing adding 7,600 and 6,900 workers respectively.
- The professional and technical sector expanded by 24,900 jobs. This includes jobs in accounting (+5,200), architectural and engineering services (+8,800), and computers (+3,900).
- Restaurants and bars grew by 18,600 workers.
Among the unemployed, the numbers changed little in July. There were 9.7 million unemployed workers in July; 3.2 million of them have been out of work for more than six months. Another 7.5 million are working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs. There are also 2.2 million out of work, who aren’t officially counted as unemployed because they didn’t look for work during the government’s survey period, but have done so in the past few months.