The US Department of Labor (DoL) said employers brought onboard a whopping 207,000 workers, a healthy gain that even outstripped analyst expectations. The unemployment rate held steady at the 2-3/4-year low of 5% reached in June, the Labor Department said. Reuters reported that economists had been expecting a 183,000 job gain.
The DoL also announced an upward revision of 42,000 to the combined job count for May and June. US employers added 166,000 workers in June and 126,000 in May.
According to the government data, July saw employment gains in many service-providing industries, including retail trade, professional and technical services, financial activities, food services, and health care.
Retail trade employment rose by 50,000 in July, following little change the previous month. This industry has gained 197,000 jobs over the year. In July, retail employment gains were widespread, including growth in clothing stores (13,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (10,000), and building material and garden supply stores (7,000).
Employment in professional and technical services pulled ahead by 23,000 in July. Year to date, this industry has added 211,000 jobs. Management and technical consulting services, as well as architectural and engineering services, contributed to the July gain.
Employment in financial activities rose by 21,000 over the month, as credit intermediation and real estate showed continued strength. Since July 2004, employment in credit intermediation has grown by 93,000, while real estate has added 54,000 jobs.
Elsewhere in the service-providing sector, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 30,000 over the month. This industry has added 262,000 jobs since January 2005. The health care industry continued to grow in July, adding 29,000 jobs. Ambulatory health care services (which includes doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics), hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities all contributed to the employment gain.
Temporary help services employment was flat in July and has shown little net change since April, the DoL said. In the goods-producing sector, construction employment continued to trend up.
So far this year, job gains in construction have
averaged 21,000 per month, about in line with the average
monthly increase for 2004. In July, manufacturing
employment was almost unchanged. The motor vehicle
and parts industry
shed 11,000 jobs, reflecting larger-than-usual shutdowns for annual retooling.
Employment in wood products fell by 4,000. These losses were partly offset by small increases in several other manufacturing industries. Mining employment remained about the same over the month, according to the government.