Strong Job Growth Continued in July Unemployment at Record Low

JOB GROWTH: The employment market continued to show steady growth in July, with the addition of 209,000 new positions.

TOP INDUSTRIES: The sectors recording the largest gains in July included hospitality, healthcare/social assistance and professional/business services.

UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate remained low, dipping back to 4.3 percent in July from 4.4 percent in June, as more people moved off the sidelines to look for work.

WAGES: Payrolls remained steady in July, gaining an average increase of nine cents per hour, sustaining an annual average hourly increase of 2.5 percent.

WORK WEEK: The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: For the fourth consecutive month, temporary job penetration exceeded three million jobs, helped by the addition of 14,700 new jobs in July.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Positive momentum in the labor market continues to signal optimism in the economy, as solid job growth in July exceeded expectations from analysts. Unemployment remained low as more people, many of whom may have been discouraged previously, re-entered the job market. Despite this good news, the persistent dark cloud on the horizon continues to be sluggish wage acceleration. It seems clear that employers are keeping a tight rein on labor expenses, but at what cost? Workers are more optimistic about their opportunities and more confident of their ability to secure higher pay. As competition for talent heats up, employers need to up their game in terms of offering the appropriate financial incentives to both attract candidates and retain valued employees.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Staffing Industry Analysts, The Conference Board, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN Money