Economy Adds 164,000 Jobs in July, Unemployment Steady at 3.7%

Dow Drops Precipitously After Trump Announces New China Tariffs

Just days after the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced the Federal Reserve would be cutting its key interest rate by one-quarter of one percentage point and President Donald Trump announced an escalation in his trade war with China, July's job report came out with some good news for the U.S. economy. Wages are going up and hiring continuing over the last month - even as it slows amid the trade war and global uncertainty over Brexit.

According to monthly jobs report data, the economy added 164,000 jobs in July, around economists' expectations for the month. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, marking the 17th straight month the rate has remained at or below 4%. Economists did expect the number to fall to 3.6%, but a larger than average influx of workers into the labor participation rate kept that number steady. The 164,000 jobs added is around the same average for the year. The average duration of someone being unemployed dropped to 19.6 weeks, the lowest so far.

Average hourly earnings were also up by 3.2% over last year.

The most jobs were added in the professional and technical industries, one third of which were in computer systems design. Health care also saw strong jobs growth with 30,000 jobs added. The manufacturing sector continues to defy Trump's trade war with China, but the pace of hiring has slowed, with only 16,000 jobs added in July. Hours worked also fell to 40.4, the lowest level since June 2011.

"With Labor Day a month away, we have not seen an unemployment rate this low on a Labor Day since 1952," acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella said. "The Administration’s policies, such as expanding apprenticeship and fair trade through USMCA, opens great opportunities for job creation."

There was one piece of bad news contained within the report: June's job numbers were revised downward somewhat, and cut to 193,000, while May's jobs numbers were revised downward to 62,000.

Consumer sentiment also rose to 98.4, slightly higher than what was seen in June.

Photo: Getty Images

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