This morning’s monthly employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that unemployment dropped to 7.4%. They also reported that only 162,000 jobs were created. That was far less than the 185,000 + analysts had expected. In addition, June’s number was downsized to 188,000. So much for all the hoopla.
The rate dropped because the civilian labor force declined from 155,835 to 155,798 or 37K, driven by an increase of people not in labor force to 89,957 – just shy of the all time high. This also means that the labor force participation rate once again ticked down to 63.4% from 63.5%. What is worse however is that the change in average hourly earnings dropped -0.1% on expectations of a 0.2% increase and down from the 0.4% increase last month. Those part-time jobs are finally starting to bite.
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When the payroll report was released last month, the world finally noticed what we had been saying for nearly three years: that the US was slowly being converted to a part-time worker society. This slow conversion accelerated drastically in the last few months, and especially in June, when part time jobs exploded higher by 360K while full time jobs dropped by 240K. In July we are sad to report that America’s conversation to a part-time worker society is not “tapering”: according to the Household Survey, of the 266K jobs created (note this number differs from the establishment survey), only 35% of jobs, or 92K, were full time. The rest were… not.
One of the overlooked components of today’s NFP (non farm payroll) report is that in July the one industry that posted a clear decline in workers was none other than Construction, the sector which is expected to carry the recovery entirely on its shoulders once Bernanke tapers and ultimately goes away, which saw a decline of 6,000 workers: the largest job loss by industry in the past month. Perhaps there isn’t quite as much demand as some would propagandize? But most notably, and disturbingly, is that the industry with the most job gains in July was also the second lowest paying one: retail, which saw an addition of 47,000 jobs: far and away the biggest winner in the past month. The worst paying industry – temp jobs – rose by 8K in July following a revised 16K increase in June. And the reason for the swing in July: the plunge in another low-quality job group: Leisure and Hospitality, which increased by only 23K in July following 57K additions in June.
Remember how fast food workers this week were asking for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour? They may want to rethink that. Also, there is talk of combining the hours of part time workers so that businesses that don’t want to pay for health care and limit the number of hours you work would then be hit with full coverage. What do you think they will do to combat it? Fire people.