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BLS Reports Robust July Jobs: 255K, 4.9% Unemployment

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Friday, August 5, 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) July non-farm payroll report was released this morning to a plurality of sighs of relief — following the manic past 2 months in BLS jobs reads, analysts were a tad reticent to predict big jobs numbers. 255K new jobs were added last month, and the unemployment rate stayed at 4.9%.

We also saw positive revisions to the past 2 months: May’s paltry 11K jobs was more than doubled to 24K, and even June’s robust 287K rose another 5000 jobs to 292K. Private sector employment totaled 217K, and the government added 38K jobs in July.

The biggest gainers were Professional/Business Services at 70K, Leisure and Hospitality reached 45K and Health Services had 43K. The biggest loser in July’s labor market was Mining at -6000 jobs.

Average hourly pay rose 0.3%. The labor force participation rate was also up, to 62.8%. The broader measure of unemployment and underemployment, the U6, fell even farther below 10% to 9.7%. Over the past year, average monthly job growth increased to 206K.

When your economy produces more than 200,000 jobs per month on average, it’s tough to find fault with your labor market. This is what Wednesday’s ADP (ADP - Free Report) report of 169K jobs and this morning’s BLS numbers more emphatically have stated. Market futures, which were up modestly ahead of the payroll report, have more than doubled since its release ahead of the bell today.

Part of the reason the Dow swelled from +37 points to +90, by the way, was due to Merck (MRK - Free Report) jumping 11% on news that rival Bristol Myers-Squibb’s (BMY - Free Report) latest cancer treatment failed a late-stage study. BMY shares have fallen 17%, but it is not a Dow component.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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