August 3, 2012

Former BLS Commissioner Keith Hall Breaks Down the Latest Job Numbers

Keith Hall

Former Senior Research Fellow
Summary

In July, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 percent, and there was a welcome, though modest, increase in job growth. After averaging just 73,000 jobs per month in the third quarter, there were 163,000 new jobs.

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In July, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 percent,  and there was a welcome, though modest, increase in job growth. After averaging just 73,000 jobs per month in the third quarter, there were 163,000 new jobs.

But wage growth remains very weak, with a record low growth in average hourly earnings of just 1.3 percent over the past 12 months.

Confidence in the labor market also remained low, as participation in the labor force ticked down from 63.8 to 63.7 percent. And the share of the population with jobs fell to just 58.4 percent, which is near its lowest point in 25 years.