U.S. Employment Stats Continues to Underwhelm

Employee Payroll StatisticsNew workers have been added to U.S. employee payrolls month after month throughout the late spring and early summer – just not enough of them to bring the overall rate of unemployment down, according to figures from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS).

According to the BLS, the U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July. That’s the most since February, yet unemployment went up from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent. The difference between the percentages in June and July before rounding was statistically insignificant, ut the very best that can be said is that the country’s employment situation is stagnant.

The July increase in job numbers exceeded the increases for June and May combined, and were somewhat higher than the monthly average over the last year and a half. For each the past 18 months, government, large business and small business payrolls together have added an average of a little more than 150,000 jobs per month.

Unfortunately for American workers, that pace of growth in the number of jobs available is little more than enough to keep up with the continual expansion of the nation’s available workforce due to population growth. At the meager rate that jobs are being added, says one economic research group, it will be 2025 before we again see pre-recession levels of employment.

As has been the case throughout the recession and recovery, some areas of the U.S. are suffering much higher unemployment than others. Nevada, Rhode Island and California were the only states with unemployment rates higher than 10 percent in June – 11.6 percent, 10.9 percent and 10.7 percent respectively. The states with the next-highest levels of unemployment were New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, the District of Columbia and Georgia. States with unemployment well below average were North Dakota (the lowest nationwide at 2.9 percent), Nebraska, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wyoming, Virginia, Utah and Kansas.

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