The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, more than analysts expected, and the nation’s unemployment rate edged down to 4.3 percent, which is a 16-year low.
The government also said that in July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to $26.36. This year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5 percent.
“The recovery is now strong and long enough to lift many of the people hurt most by the recession,” Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, a labor-market research firm, told MarketWatch.
The jobs total for May was revised downward from 152,000 to 145,000 and the figure for June was revised upward from 222,000 to 231,000. After the revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 2,000 more than previously reported, the government said.
The government said the number of long-term unemployed people — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — was little changed at 1.8 million in July and accounted for 25.9 percent of the unemployed.
The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 5.3 million, was essentially unchanged in July. These people, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
In July 1.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, a figure that was down by 321,000 from a year earlier. The data are not seasonally adjusted.
These people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job at some time during the previous 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work during the four weeks that preceded the survey.