Economic Snapshot: Few changes for employment

Both the number of unemployed persons and the number of job openings were essentially unchanged this month.

Employment situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent. The number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 7.8 million. Both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons have shown little movement since August of last year.

The number of long-term unemployed was basically unchanged at 2.0 million in July and accounted for 26.6 percent of the unemployed.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 5.9 million in July.

There were 2.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in July, about unchanged from the previous year. Among the marginally attached, there were 591,000 discouraged workers in July, little difference from the previous year.

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JOLTS

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.6 million on the last business day of June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job openings rate in June was 3.8 percent.

The number of job openings was essentially unchanged for total private, nonfarm and government. Job openings increased in the South.

The number of hires was little changed at 5.1 million in June and the hires rate was 3.6 percent. The number of hires increased in the Northeast region.

There were 4.9 million total separations in June, little changed from May, and the separations rate was 3.4 percent. Among separations, there were 2.9 million quits in June, unchanged the previous month. The quits rate was 2.0 percent.

NFIB small business optimism

The Index of Small Business Optimism rose one-tenth of a point in July to 94.6. The index remains well below the 42-year average of 98.

Four of the 10 index components posted a gain, four declined and two were unchanged. The outlook for business conditions in the next six months continued to improve, gaining 16 percentage points since January; still, more owners expect conditions to be worse than expect improvement.

Owners are still reported that they cannot find qualified workers and cite it as their third “Single Most Important Business Problem.” The seasonally adjusted average employment change per firm posted a decline of negative 0.03 workers per firm, although better than June’s negative 0.17 reading.

Fifty-three percent reported hiring or trying to hire, down 3 points, but 46 reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-six percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 3 points from the highest reading in this recovery. Thirteen percent reported using temporary workers, up 1 point. A seasonally adjusted net 12 percent plan to create new jobs, up 1 point from June.

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