Make us your home page
Instagram

U.S. adds 209,000 jobs in July, unemployment rate ticks up to 6.2 percent

WASHINGTON — A sixth straight month of 200,000-plus job growth in July reinforced evidence that the U.S. economy is accelerating after five years of sluggish expansion.

Employers added 209,000 jobs last month. Though that was fewer than the previous three months, the economy has produced an average of 244,000 jobs a month since February, the best six-month run in eight years.

At the same time, most economists believe the pace of job growth isn't enough to cause the Federal Reserve to speed up its timetable for raising interest rates. Most still believe the Fed will start raising rates to ward off inflation around mid 2015.

The Labor Department's jobs report Friday pointed to an economy that has bounced back with force after a grim start to the year and is expected to sustain its strength into 2015. Economists generally expect it to grow at a 3 percent annual rate in the second half of this year after expanding 4 percent in the second quarter. Consumer spending is rising. Manufacturing is expanding rapidly, and auto sales are up.

"There is no doubt that the economy and the labor market have been strengthening," said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at California State University. "People are rejoining the labor force.

"All these factors point to moderate but sustained economic growth in 2014."

President Barack Obama declared the economy "is clearly getting stronger. … Our engines are revving a little bit louder."

In an encouraging sign, more people without jobs have started to look for one, which nudged up the unemployment rate in July to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent. Most who began searching last month didn't find jobs. But the increase suggests they're more optimistic about their prospects. Jobless aren't counted as unemployed unless they're actively seeking work.

Still, Americans' paychecks are barely growing. That gives the Fed leeway to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero without worrying so much about higher inflation.

In one encouraging sign, a higher proportion of July's job gains were in higher-paying industries. That's a shift from much of the recovery, which has been marked by outsized gains in lower-paying fields such as restaurants, retail and home health care aides.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs, the most in eight months. Construction added 22,000 and financial services 7,000, its fourth straight gain.

Friday's other economic news

• U.S. stocks fell for a second straight day, adding to Thursday's massive selloff and giving the market its worst week in two years. The S&P 500 index lost 5.52 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,925.15. The index fell 2.7 percent this week, its worst weekly performance since June 2012. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 69.93 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,493.37.

• The University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment edged down to 81.8 in July from 82.3 in June.

• The Commerce Department said construction spending dropped 1.8 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising by a revised 0.8 percent in May. It was the biggest setback since a 2.8 percent decline in January 2011.

• Consumer spending increased 0.4 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Commerce Department said.

U.S. adds 209,000 jobs in July, unemployment rate ticks up to 6.2 percent 08/01/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 1, 2014 8:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Amid a record turnout, regional technology group spotlights successes, desire to do more

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — They came. They saw. They celebrated Tampa Bay's tech momentum.

    A record turnout event by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, held May 24 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, featured a panel of area tech executives talking about the challenges encountered during their respective mergers and acquisitions. Show, from left to right, are: Gerard Purcell, senior vice president of global IT integration at Tech Data Corp.; John Kuemmel, chief information officer at Triad Retail Media, and Chris Cate, chief operating officer at Valpak. [Robert Trigaux, Times]
  2. Take 2: Some fear Tampa Bay Next transportation plan is TBX redux

    Transportation

    TAMPA — For many, Wednesday's regional transportation meeting was a dose of deja vu.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. But the plan remains the same: spend $60 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area interstates that are currently free of tolls. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  3. Palm Harbor boat dealer facing litany of complaints of bad deals

    Business

    PALM HARBOR — With an aging father sick in the hospital and a son just graduating high school, Andrew Kashella, in between jobs, knew what he had to do.

    A sign on a front window of Gulf Coast Boat Sales, 37517 Us Highway 19 N, in Palm Harbor, notifies people they are under restructuring  The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has received 20 complaints against Gulf Coast Boat Sales in Palm Harbor. Complainants say they sold the shop their boats and never got paid and/or paid for boats they never received. Pinellas County Consumer Protection is leading the investigation.
  4. To catch a poacher: Florida wildlife officers set up undercover gator farm sting

    Wildlife

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, state wildlife officers created the ultimate undercover operation.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  5. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    Demonstrators protests the passage of a House Republican health care bill, outside the the Capitol in Washington, on May 4. The House took the unusual step of voting on the American Health Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office could assess it. That analysis was released Thursday and it showed the bill would cause 23 million fewer people to have health insurance by 2026. Many additional consumers would see skimpier health coverage and higher deductibles, the budget office projected.