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Unemployment Rate Remains at 9.5 Percent in July

In line with economists’ expectations, the unemployment rate remained at 9.5 percent in July, the Labor Department announced this morning. Overall employment decreased 131,000, mostly due to census hiring tapering off and the federal workforce declining by 143,000 positions. The number of private jobs — the most-watched number in the report — increased by 71,000, not enough to make a dent in the unemployment rate.

The report is yet another data point showing a slow-down or stall-out in the recovery. The economy needs to add at least 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with the growth of the population, and more than that to bring down the unemployment rate.

Some economists expected the unemployment rate to rise due to re-entrants into the labor market. But the size of the labor force remained essentially unchanged, as did the number of unemployed persons, the number of long-term unemployed and the labor force participation rate.

From the report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 131,000 in July, and the unem ployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Federal government employment fell, as 143,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment edged up by 71,000.

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 14.6 million, and the unemployment rate, at 9.5 percent, were unchanged in July.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 6.6 million. These individuals made up 44.9 percent of unemployed persons.

The civilian labor force participation rate (64.6 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.4 percent) were essentially unchanged in July; however, these measures have declined by 0.6 percentage point and 0.4 point, respectively, since April.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged over the month at 8.5 million but has declined by 623,000 since April. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in July, an increase of 340,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in July, up by 389,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

More to come…

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