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July jobless rate holds steady as health care sector adds jobs

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Gains in health-related employment rose more than monthly average for the past year.

unemployment dictionary highlighter: © FengYu - stock.adobe.com

© FengYu - stock.adobe.com

The national unemployment rate changed little in July, but the health care sector added jobs in the last month at a greater rate than previous months.

Total nonfarm employment rose by 187,000 and the national jobless rate was 3.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the U.S. Department of Labor. The monthly job gain was less than the average of 312,000 over the prior 12 months, while the national unemployment rate has ranged from 3.4% to 3.7% since March 2022.

Health care employment

The health care sector added 63,000, up from the average monthly gain of 51,000 jobs in the prior 12 months. Gains included 35,000 jobs in ambulatory health care services, 16,000 posts in hospitals, and 12,000 additions in nursing and residential care facilities.

Offices of physicians and offices of dentists each added 8,300 jobs in July, while outpatient care centers gained 3,200 workers, according to the BLS figures. Offices of other health practitioners and medical and diagnostic laboratories had the smallest gains at 500 new workers each.

Other sectors

In other sectors, social assistance added 24,000 positions in July, slightly more than the average monthly gain of 23,000 in the prior 12 months. Individual and family services added 19,000 jobs in July.

Employment in financial activities grew by 19,000 in July, with a 12,000-job gain in real estate and rental leasing offset by a loss of 3,000 jobs in commercial banking. Last month, wholesale trade added 18,000 jobs, while personal and laundry services gained 11,000 positions and construction grew by 19,000 jobs, greater than the monthly average of 17,000 jobs in the prior 12 months.

Leisure and hospitality added 17,000 jobs, although that sector remains below its pre-pandemic level of February 2020 by 352,000 jobs, or 2.1%. Professional and business services lost 8,000 positions in July, although that sector had averaged monthly gains of 38,000 jobs in the prior 12 months. Professional, scientific, and technical services gained 24,000 positions in July.

Leaders respond

President Joe Biden issued a statement touting “that’s Bidenomics,” with the economy adding 13.4 million jobs since he took office and “a full year and a half” with unemployment at less than 4%.

“We’re growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up, lowering costs for hardworking families, and making smart investments in America,” the president’s statement said. On Aug. 2, the White House also issued a list of 79 communities with record low unemployment.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) countered that the 187,000 job gains were lower than economists’ expectations for the second month in a row and that the May and June reports were revised to subtract 49,000 jobs. Meanwhile, gas prices and other prices in general remain high due to inflation.

“Bidenomics is simple: You pay more to get less,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

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