The headlines in today’s jobs report were better than expected:
- Payrolls fell by “only” 247,000 in July, somewhat smaller than the 325,000 that analysts had anticipated.
- The unemployment rate ticked down to 9.4%.
If you dig into the numbers a bit further, you find some other encouraging nuggets:
- Job losses in May and June were 43,000 smaller than BLS had previously estimated.
- The average work week ticked up from 33.0 hours in June to 33.1 hours in July. That may seem like a small change, but it’s a good sign that hours have bounced off the record low recorded in June.
- Average hourly earnings increased 0.2%. Again not a huge change, but clearly pointing in the right direction.
- The U-6 measure of unemployment, which includes workers who are discouraged or working part-time for economic reasons, declined from 16.5% to 16.3%:
Losing 247,000 jobs is not a good month in the job market. But it is the best month since last August, before the fall of Lehman.