Labor estimates mixed: jobs and jobless rate both rise

U.S. payrolls grew nearly 100,000 more in July than June, but the unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a percent nonetheless.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 163,000 in July with hiring in a number of industry sectors.

The July gain exceeded by almost 100,000 the June gain, which was revised downward to 64,000.

The jobless rate also increased, though, to 8.3 percent in July. More people left the work force, either retiring or giving up on job hunts.

The proportion of the remaining civilian workforce unable to find work increased slightly, driving up the unemployment rate.

The latest statistical snapshot of the labor market once again presents a picture of continued, albeit slow, job growth, yet little change in the ranks of the unemployed.

Private-sector payrolls have increased 29 consecutive months, adding a total of 4.5 million jobs to the economy during that span.

While the initial estimate for June job gains was revised downward, the estimate for May was revised upward 10,000 to 87,000. So far in 2012, nonfarm payrolls have grown an average of 151,000 a month. That’s slightly below the average monthly gain of 153,000 for all of 2011.

Still, the number of people counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work in July stood at 12.8 million. The number of people who’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or longer was little changed at 5.2 million, accounting for nearly 41 percent of the overall ranks of the unemployed.

Another 8.2 million people were counted among those working on a part-time basis because their hours have been reduced or they’re unable to find full-time positions.

The unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for 42 straight months.

For July, nonfarm payroll gains were spread out among a number of industry sectors.

Professional and business services added a net 49,000 new jobs with gains in temporary help services and computer systems design.

Within the leisure and hospitality sector, employment in food services and drinking places rose 29,000, bringing total job gains in the sector over the past year to 292,000.

Factory payrolls rose 25,000 with nearly all of that gain at durable goods manufacturers. Employment continued to trend upward in health care with 12,000 net new jobs as well as in wholesale trades. Utility payrolls dropped 8,000, largely as a result of a labor dispute.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.5 hours. The average manufacturing workweek remained unchanged at 40.7 hours.

Average hourly earnings on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up 2 cents to $23.52. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 1.7 percent.