I have groomed myself to not be surprised by the monthly unemployment reports over the past few years but I admit, today’s numbers actually caught me off guard. Earlier this week I read reports that today’s report may reveal fewer than 50,000 new jobs were added last month. Imagine my surprise to see that 117,000 new jobs were created in July, bringing the unemployment rate down to 9.1 percent. In June 2011, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent.
According to a Bloomberg article, “Payroll increases of around 125,000 a month are needed to keep the unemployment rate steady, while about 200,000 a month would bring it down a percentage point over a year.” We’re getting close to that number but it would be great to see 200,000+ monthly jobs added in the coming months.
In July, jobs were created in several different industries including the health care sector, which added 31,000 jobs. The health care industry has created 299,000 in the last 12 months alone.
Retail employment also increased last month, with the addition of 26,000 jobs. Jobs were also created in manufacturing (+24,000), mining (+9,000) and professional and technical services (+18,000).
The better-than-expected jobs report has already had a noticeable impact on the stock market. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 513 points (-4.31 percent) but this morning it opened in the green.