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Jobs added in July, some unemployment areas still stalled


Economy — July data reveals mixed results, market may not be as strong as numbers suggest

Although 209,000 jobs were added in July — marking six consecutive months with more than 200,000 jobs added, the longest streak since the mid-1990s — the unemployment rate and number of unemployed persons didn’t see a significant change nationally, according to government data. Resting at 6.2 percent and 9.7 million un­em­ployed, the rate increased slightly from 6.1 percent in June, but when compared to July 2013 with 7.3 percent, there is a marked im­prove­ment.

Industries with the strongest hiring were business and professional services and included manufacturing and construction. However, the data showed that progress in a few key job market spots stalled. The number of part-time workers who would like more work remained unchanged at 7.5 million after a spike in June. This was joined by the long-term unemployed — out of work for six months or more — which hasn’t budged from 3.2 million since May.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged those numbers could signal that the job market is weaker than the official statistics suggest.

“A range of labor market indicators suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labor resources,” an official statement read. “Household spending appears to be rising moderately and business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint is diminishing.”

The data showed consumer spending increased 0.4 percent with personal income growth holding steady as well as the savings rate at 5.3 percent. These mixed results mean that for now the government will continue to purchase Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities “and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability,” according to the statement.