Economic Snapshot: Unemployment rate remains unchanged at 5.3 percent

The unemployment rate remained unchanged this month but is down almost a percentage point over the past 12 months. In addition, job openings, hire and quits are all up year-over-year.

Employment situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in July and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent. This is compared to an average monthly gain of 246,000 over the prior 12 months. The number of unemployed persons was unchanged at 8.3 million.

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 0.9 percent and 1.4 million, respectively.

The number of long-term unemployed persons in July was little changed at 2.2 million. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed persons decreased by 986,000.

The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons was little changed in July at 6.3 million. There were 1.9 million persons marginally attached to the labor force, down by 251,000 from the previous year. Among the marginally attached, there were 668,000 discouraged workers, little changed from July 2014.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $24.99 in July. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 cents.


The number of job openings was little changed at 5.2 million on the last business day of June. The job openings rate for June 2015 remained at 3.6 percent for the third consecutive month.

The number of job openings increased over the 12 months ending in June for total nonfarm and total private, and the number of job openings increased year-over-year in the South and Midwest regions.

The number of hires was 5.2 million and the hires rate was 3.7 percent in June. Over the 12 months ending in June, the number of hires increased for total nonfarm, total private and government. The number of hires increased in the Midwest region.

There were 4.9 million separations in June and the separations rate was 3.5 percent, little change from Mat. Within separations, there were 2.7 million quits in June and the quits rate remained unchanged at 1.9 percent. The number of quits increased over the 12 months ending in June for total nonfarm, total private and government.

Small business optimism

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased by 1.3 points in July to 95.4 This follows a decline of 4 points in June.

Expectations for business conditions and real sales gains accounted for half of the net gain in the index components. Expected real sales volumes posted a gain of 2 points, rising to a net negative 6 percent of owners expecting gains.

Job creation was flat in July. Owners added a net 0.05 workers per firm in recent months, an improvement from June’s reading of a net negative 0.01 but still close to zero. Fifty-seven percent reported hiring or trying to higher, up 5 points from June, but 48 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

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