Friday's jobs report for July revealed another good month for the American economy, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9% from 4%.
"The basic story of the labor market has been a slow and steady recovery of month after month of impressive jobs gains", said Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Last week, the Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace in almost four years.
The economy expanded at a 4.1 per cent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the strongest showing in almost four years. That said, this year's tally is still short of the totals from the first seven months of 2014 and 2015. There are about 6.6 million unfilled jobs in the country.
According to the NFIB, the vacancies were concentrated in construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade industries. "For the second consecutive month, the unemployment rate for Hispanics reached a record low", the statement added. The White House has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium and on $34 billion of imports from China, and several companies have hit USA imports with retaliatory duties. Hiring in dentists' offices was relatively flat, adding only 200 jobs last month. Small businesses said they were also struggling to fill positions that did not require skilled labour.
■ Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents to $27.05.
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Strong demand from consumers and businesses sharply reduced the stockpiles of goods held on many store shelves and warehouses.
An increase in wages that occurred in June also could help the housing market even though it remains below the pre-recession rate of growth, he added.
The participation rate, or share of working-age people in jobs or actively looking, was unchanged at 62.9 percent. There were declines in transport, utilities and financial payrolls last month.
Excluding those factors, hiring in July would have been closer to the monthly average this year. Despite many company executives complaining that they can not find workers to fill open positions, wage growth remains sluggish.
Government employment fell by 13,000 jobs in July.