The July jobs report has officially been released and reveals insights that both economists and employers found positive.
Setting the stage for the final half of the year, the report showed an increase of 164,000 jobs in the last month. The unemployment rate continued to stay low, remaining at 3.7%. Additionally, the average hourly wage went up by 8 cents, bringing the total to $27.98.
Economic expansion remained strong, the technology sector continued to see growth, and manufacturing has begun to slow down after its 2018 growth spike. Increases in workforce participation in the job search market and wage growth round out the top headlines from the last month.
Here's more of what you need to know about the latest in the workforce:
Strong Economic Expansion Continues
Though faced with slowing global growth and unsteady trade tensions, the July jobs report proved that the U.S. economy is continuing in its nearly ten-year jobs expansion. Though the rate of growth has arguably slowed in 2019, with an average of 172,000 jobs per month compared to 2018's 223,000 jobs per month, the economy and the workforce remained solid despite trade tensions. The private sector's share is 156,000 out of the overall 164,000 jobs added to the economy in July. Though it has been expected for the job rate to slow down at this point in the economy's expansion, a pace of around 100,000 jobs per month can help keep the labor market aligned with population growth and the unemployment rate.
Technology and Job Growth
The technology sector saw the most growth in July. Top jobs in the country largely fall within the tech sector, with 31,000 jobs added in both professional and technical services, primarily within computer systems design. This includes positions such as network admins, computer designers, IT support specialists, and developers. Even companies that aren't based in the tech sector have been hiring more tech-specialized applicants.
Alignment with the growth and changes in technology is going to be critical for all kinds of businesses moving forward. With 59% of Gen Z saying that they expect to remain with their current employer for under two years, employers must keep up with the competition and stay tech-savvy to attract and retain top talent.
A Slowdown for Manufacturing
While the tech sector is experiencing unprecedented growth, the manufacturing growth rate has fallen to its slowest pace since 2016. Very little changed for manufacturing with only 16,000 new jobs added to the market in July. This is possibly connected to the global trade war issues and tensions that have put pressure on the sector's ability to increase employment. Additionally, the automobile industry typically sees a slowdown in the summer, as many factories shut down between June and August.
Job growth has also been slowing down for construction after 2018's post-recession high, and mining employment went down by 5,000 jobs in July. Altogether, mining, construction, and manufacturing job rates make up for nearly 60% of the employment slowdown that 2019 has seen thus far.
More Job Seekers
The number of people looking for work continued to increase in July, after first seeing growth back in June of this year. The workforce saw an increase from 62.9% to 63% participation from those considered unemployed rather than outside the workforce. Though it's typical for hiring processes to slow down during the summer as companies shut down or operate fewer activities due to vacation time for employees, the higher percentages of workforce participation suggest that now may just be the right time for employers to attract and secure top talent.
An Increase in Wage Growth
Though the declining unemployment typically comes hand in hand with a rise in wage growth, that hasn't occurred during the nearly 17 straight months of steadily decreasing unemployment rates. However, both June and July proved that wage growth is now starting to rise, with each month showing an 8-cent increase to average hourly wages, totaling to $27.98. Average hourly wages rose by 3.2% since July 2018, up from the 3.1% increase seen between June 2018 and June 2019.
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