Inflation Raises Slightly While Labor Market Only Adds 187,000 Jobs

The Consumer Price Index Summary was released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and showed an overall price increase of .2 percent to 3.2% in July, up from 3.0% in June.  The core CPI, which is a measure of the price index without more volatile items like food and energy, remains elevated at 4.7%.  The economy is sending mixed signals about cooling, and there is no clear indication of whether or not the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates.

According to the Employment Situation Summary, the US Labor Market added 187,000 jobs in July.  This is comparable to the revised addition on 185,000 in the month of June, but much lower than expected.  Unemployment remained mostly unchanged at 3.5%.  The ADP National Employment Report showed an increase of 324,000 private payrolls last month.  Nela Richardson, Chief Economist for ADP, said, “The economy is doing better than expected and a healthy labor market continues to support household spending.  We continue to see a slowdown in pay growth without broad-based job loss.”

The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 110.1 in June to 117.0 in July and the Expectations Index rose from 80.0 to 88.3 in July, well out of the level that has historically signaled a coming recession.  “Consumer confidence rose in July to its highest level since July 2021, reflecting pops in both current conditions and expectations,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board.

According to last week’s report, labor participation held steady at 62.6% for the fifth month in a row.  The number of people not in the labor force but looking for a job was 5.2 million.

Healthcare led job gains in July with 63,000 added jobs, within the sector, ambulatory health care services added 51,000 jobs, hospitals added 16,000 jobs and nursing and residential care facilities added 12,000 jobs.  Social assistance increased by 24,000 jobs and financial services added 19,000 jobs.  Employment in wholesale trade increased by 18,000 jobs and in the other service industry, 20,000 jobs were added.  Within that sector, personal and laundry services increased by 11,000, but the sector remains below pre-pandemic levels. Construction added 19,000 jobs while leisure and hospitality remained much the same.  The average hourly earnings for nonfarm payrolls increased by 14 cents and over the past 12 months has increased 4.4%.


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