While recent stats on the US economy did not paint a rosy picture, newly released job figures show that around 163,000 jobs were added to the economy in the month of July. The figure beats analyst’s forecasts even though during the period unemployment rose, US retail sales figures fell, with a 0.5 per cent drop from May and overall economic growth slowing to 1.5 per cent.
According to figures released by the US Department of Labour, during the month of July, employment rose by 163,000 jobs while the unemployment rate remained “unchanged” at 8.3 per cent even though it had risen a point, from 8.2 per cent from the previous month. The figure was better than expected, outdoing analyst’s forecasts, with the Dept. of Labour correcting figures for May and June, stating that 6,000 fewer jobs were created in those months than previously expected. According to the US Federal Reserve, the US economy would have to sustain a rate of 100,000 new jobs a month in order to stabilise the economy and the July figures certainly fulfils this.
Overall, the July figures were far more positive than expected with all the major industries, such as professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and manufacturing experiencing increased employment. For the first category, new jobs increased by 49,000; the leisure and hospitality industry saw a 29,000 increase while manufacturing saw a 25,000 increase. The private sector was the predominant industry to see a major rise, with a total of 172,000 new staff, marking, a straight 29 month period of adding new jobs, to account for a total of 4.5 million new jobs. However unemployment figures remained the same over the last couple of months, being steady at 12.8 million unemployed. Unemployment, according to the figures, for Hispanics, blacks and whites essentially remained unchanged as did figures for the long-term unemployed (5.2 million who account for 40 per cent of the total unemployed).
But it seems that the US public was feeling a lot more positive towards to prospective jobs, as seeing the biggest change, the number of discouraged workers, or those unemployed who felt that there were no jobs on offer; fell dramatically from 852,000 to 267,000 during July.
Commenting on the new job figures, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates, Scott Brown said, “We are not seeing large-scale layoffs, so job destruction is pretty limited,” while White House's chair of economic advisers, Alan Krueger, said: "Any increase in the unemployment rate is unwelcome but we do see an economy that is continuing to add jobs."
Similarly, incumbent President Barack Obama said, "Let's acknowledge, we've still got too many folks out of work. We've got more work to do on their behalf," although Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney said, "These numbers are not just statistics. These are real people, really suffering, having a hard time,” adding that, "This is an extraordinary record of failure."