U.S. employers hired at a healthy rate in July and the unemployment rate fell to match a 16-year-low, a show of lasting vitality for the labor market.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 209,000 in July from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3% from 4.4% the prior month as more people joined the workforce. The July unemployment rate matched May's reading as the lowest mark since 2001.
For some Silicon Valley companies such as Google, which operate in a region where finding an affordable place to live has become a major issue, that may mean getting directly involved in employee housing. For farms in California, it may mean offering significantly higher wages, which can alter business models and reduce profit margins. In rapidly growing industries such as solar, some companies are taking a more proactive role in training employees. And, in some instances, it may mean looking to hire some of the 600,000 people who get out of jail each year. That was the point of a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal this week. “Erickson Cos., a Chandler, Ariz.,–based construction firm, has hired almost 30 former inmates from Arizona state prisons over the past year to build frames for new homes, an effort to cope with skilled-labor scarcity,” the Journal noted. “Erickson, which has about 250 employees in Arizona and roughly 1,000 nationwide, has been recruiting directly from corrections department job fairs for prisoners nearing release.”
California’s economic engine quieted in June as employers reduced their payrolls by 1,400, according to a report Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department. It was the second month this year that the state lost jobs. The unemployment rate stayed flat at 4.7%, the lowest rate since November 2000.. . . A net reduction of 1,400 jobs is slight compared with the state’s total employment of about 17 million non-agricultural workers. But it is another indication that 2017 could be a year of cooling for California’s typically bustling job market.
The unemployment rate for Hispanic or Latino workers fell to 4.8% last month, the lowest level on records back to the 1970s. The rate for black Americans was 7.1%, the second-lowest monthly rate, bested only by April 2000’s 7% reading, according to the Labor Department. The decline in unemployment for blacks and Hispanics comes with a significant caveat: Both June lows are higher than the 3.8% rate for whites, and the 4.4% overall rate.
U.S. employers picked up their pace of hiring in June. Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 222,000 from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% from 4.3% the prior month as more people joined the workforce. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose 2.5% in June, little changed from prior months. In one positive sign, the average workweek rose by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.