Fresh on the heels of a 512-point nosedive by the ""Dow Jones Industrial Average"":http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=INDEXDJX:DJI, the U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs over July, beating less ideal estimates and soothing markets anxious about a recession repeat. Construction, leasing, and financial sectors roped in a marginal number of new hires, reflecting still-slow growth in housing.[IMAGE]
According to the ""Bureau of Labor Statistics"":http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm, which bases jobs reports on payroll information it collects, the number of unemployed people and the unemployment rate moved ever so slightly over July, as joblessness hovered at 13.9 million nationally and the latter continued at 9.1 percent. The total labor force stayed somewhat static at 153.2 million last month.
""I think the tagline really is that it diminishes fears that the U.S. falls into the recession,"" says Paul Dales, a senior U.S. economist at ""Capital Economics"":http://www.capitaleconomics.com/. ""But the big news is that the labor market hasn't recovered at all really. The outlook remains pretty weak.""
Among major sectors of the workforce, the private sector brought on 154,000 over July, with the ""Labor Department"":http://www.dol.gov/ attributing much of the surge to a handful of industries that include health care, manufacturing, mining, and retail trade. Government workers saw the way out of employment, with some 22.085 jobs over June declining to 20,858 by July as wobbly state governments trimmed their budgets and vacated social services.[COLUMN_BREAK]
The number of unemployed people dipped by 387,000 over July, even as 6.2 million, some 44.4 percent of the jobless, stayed unemployed over the long haul.
Still reflecting a limping industry, gains in construction new hires nonetheless amplified last month's National Association of Home Builders report on improving home builder confidence. The construction industry as a whole added 5,814 jobs, up from 5,734 in June, with 3,639.4 specialty trade contractors going home with paychecks over 3,582 from the past month. Heavy and civil engineering picked up jobs to the tune of 908.9 over July, up from 898.8 from June.
The financial sector also stayed flat, with real estate, rental, and leasing services revealing only marginal gains in new hires. Some 1,973 hires in real estate crept forward to about 1,983, with new faces in rental and leasing services dropping by 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
""Construction has been relatively flat over the past 12 months,"" says Catherine Wood, a current employment statistics economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ""Finance has also been relatively flat all year. Over the past 12 months they lost 15,000 jobs and that's not statistically significant.
""Real estate rental leasing was all flat or all slightly downward and has been fairly flat over the past year,"" she says.
Dales underscores the supply-and-demand dynamics at play.
""There is simply no need for new homes to be built,"" Dales says. ""The fact is that household formations are low, the current excess supply of unsold homes is high, and there are plenty of foreclosed homes that need to be resolved first before new ones can be built. That's impacting employment in the construction sector and anything related to housing.""
His bottom line: ""Anything in housing will continue to remain sluggish for the next two years.""