U.S. payrolls grow, jobless read unchanged

Job growth continues in the United States with hiring spread out among a number of industry sectors.

Moreover, the average work week and hourly wages have increased.

According to the latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payrolls grew 215,000 in July. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3 percent, the lowest level since April 2008.

Initial estimates for payroll gains in June and May were revised upward a total of 14,000 to 231,000 and 260,000 respectively.

Given the latest numbers, monthly payroll gains have averaged 235,000 over the past three months. That’s lower than average monthly gains of 246,000 over the past year.

At the same time, though, 2.2 million people remain among those counted among the long-term unemployed who’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Another 6.3 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours have been cut back or they’re unable to find full-time positions.

The civilian labor force participation held steady at 62.6 percent, the lowest level since October 1977.

For July, payroll gains were divided among a number of industry sectors.

Retail trades led the way with a net gain of 36,000 jobs. Employment in food services and drinking places rose 29,000, while health care payrolls increased 28,000.

Professional and technical services added a net 27,000 positions even as employment increased 17,000 in financial activities  and manufacturing payrolls grew 15,000. Employment in transportation and warehousing continued to trend up with the addition of 14,000 jobs. While construction payrolls increased only 6,000, the gain pushed employment in the sector to its highest level since February 2009.

Employment in the mining sector continued to trend downward with a net loss of 5,000 jobs in July. The sector has shed 78,000 jobs since December.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.6 hours in July. The average manufacturing workweek rose a tenth of an hour to 40.7 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls increased 5 cents to $24.99 in July. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have advanced 2.1 percent.