The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, down from June’s increase of 288,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate was 6.2%, slightly up from June’s 6.1%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Over the past year, the unemployment rate has dropped by 1.1 percentage points and the number of jobless workers has decreased by 1.7 million.
While the improved jobs numbers over the past several months show the economy is beginning to recover, job growth is still not robust enough to provide jobs for the millions who remain out of work or to boost wages for most Americans.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 3.2 million. Long-term joblessness continues to plague the economy. Yet House Republicans, who have, since the end of last year, refused to allow a vote on the extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits program that was approved by a bipartisan Senate majority, are on the verge of leaving town for a five-week summer vacation while long-term unemployed workers struggle.
Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business services (47,000), manufacturing (28,000), retail trade (27,000), construction (22,000) and social assistance such as child day care and care for the elderly and people with disabilities (18,000).
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, showed little change in July.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women increased to 5.7% and the rate for blacks edged up to 11.4%. The rates for adult men (5.7%), whites (5.3%) and Latinos (7.8%) showed little or no change in July.