The much-anticipated July jobs report is out, and the results were far weaker than expected. Only 162,000 jobs were created during the month. Also officials revised the May and June numbers lower.
July jobs versus expectations
Wall Street had been expecting to see 185,000 jobs created in July, and whisper numbers, according to Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal, were even more bullish than that, coming in over 200,000. Unemployment did edge downward to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent in July. Economists had been expecting to see an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for the month. The number of workers who had been unemployed for at least 27 weeks was a 4.2 million, which was roughly flat. The Labor Department noted increased employment in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities and wholesale trade.
The number of workers who had been unemployed for at least 27 weeks was a 4.2 million. The average duration of unemployment is now 36.6 weeks.
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Average hourly earnings for workers fell 2 cents to $23.98 after increasing by 10 cents in June. Over the past year, average hourly wage shave risen 44 cents. The average work week also fell slightly to 34.4 hours.
May and June estimates revised downward
The Labor Department revised downward its numbers for both June and May. It lowered the May jobs report from 195,000 new jobs to 176,000 new jobs. In June, the agency lowered its number from 195,000 to 188,000 new jobs created.
The markets react
On the heels of today’s reports, the stock market didn’t change much, but gold prices spiked initially before they started edging downward again. Also the U.S. dollar appears to be weaker, indicating that concerns about the Federal Reserve’s plans to taper its quantitative easing efforts may be allayed—at least for now.
The Federal Reserve said recently that it wouldn’t start normalizing interest rates until unemployment hit 6.5 percent. The central bank indicated also that it might begin tapering its bond buying program if unemployment moves steadily lower.