US adds 163,000 jobs in July, but unemployment climbs to 8.3%

03 August 2012 14:16  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy generated 163,000 new jobs in July, the Department of Labor said on Friday, a better gain than expected but the nation’s unemployment rate nevertheless rose last month to 8.3% from June’s 8.2% reading.

The July jobs growth was much stronger than the mediocre 80,000 employment gain reported for June and May’s woeful 69,000 figure.

Some economists had been predicting employment growth of around 150,000 for July.

Despite the better than expected jobs growth in July, the unemployment rate inched up to 8.3%, the department said.

The jobless rate had eased to 8.1% in April, its lowest point since the recession ended in June 2009, but it bumped up to 8.2% in May, held at that level in June and now has crept higher still to 8.3%.

Even with an employment gain of 163,000, that level of growth is barely enough to accommodate US population growth.

The US economy needs to add about 150,000 new jobs each month just to provide employment for young people entering the workforce.

Economists say that to make any serious progress in reducing the unemployment rate, the country would have to generate 300,000-350,000 jobs per month for multiple quarters.

In addition to new workers entering the job market, the July jobless rate increase to 8.3% may have been driven in part by people returning to the labour market after having given up looking for work.

The number of unemployed Americans was 12.8m in July, the department said, a slight up-tick from the 12.7m jobless reported for June.

As in the June report, the department said that in July some 8.2m people were doing involuntary part-time work because they cannot find full-time jobs, and another 2.5m Americans who want jobs have given up looking for work.

That means that a total of 23.5m people are out of work or underemployed, about 15.3% of the nation’s 153m-strong workforce.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy


By: Joe Kamalick
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