US extends record-breaking growth streak by adding 164,000 jobs in July

  • Unemployment rate steady at 3.7%
  • Pace of hiring slowing and wage growth lacklustre

The US continued its record breaking streak of jobs growth in July, adding 164,000 new jobs as the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7%.

The news was broadly in line with economists’ predictions. They had been expecting the economy to add 165,000 new positions over the month after adding 224,000 jobs in June.

This is the 106th consecutive month of jobs growth, the longest streak on record, but the pace of hiring is slowing. Employers have added 165,000 jobs a month, on average, over the first seven months of the year, well below 2018’s average monthly pace of 223,000.

And wage growth is still lacklustre despite the unprecedented month-on-month gains in the jobs market. Wages were 3.2% higher in July than a year ago, a slight increase from the 3.1% yearly gain in June, but below the 3.4% growth peak achieved in February.

“There’s no doubt that the US economy is slowing.” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst. “Beyond the July employment report, there’s no doubt that the US economy faces accelerating headwinds that could begin to gather damaging force related to trade disputes, tariffs and global weakness.”

The news comes amid mixed signals for the health of the US economy. Last week the commerce department said that growth had slowed sharply in the three months between April and June as continuing trade disputes took their toll.

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in a decade this week, worried that a slowdown in global growth could dampen the US’s economic prospects.

Yet despite recent falls US stock markets remain close to record highs and the jobs market continues its record-breaking streak.

Earlier this week ADP, the US’s largest payroll supplier, said the private sector had added 156,000 jobs in July.

“Job growth is healthy, but steadily slowing,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s, which helps compile the report. “Small businesses are suffering the brunt of the slowdown. Hampering job growth are labor shortages, layoffs at bricks-and-mortar retailers, and fallout from weaker global trade.”


Dominic Rushe

The GuardianTramp

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