Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment Breakdown

The jobs report came out for July 2018, and the numbers disappointed expectations. Employment rose by 157,000, below the consensus estimates of about 190,000 for the month of July. Despite lower gains, the unemployment rate continued to fall to 3.9 percent. Total unemployed individuals fell by 284,000 and about 9,000 joined the civilian labor force for the month.

More specific breakdowns include a slightly higher reduction in the unemployment of older males than the rest of the demographics. Adult males (ages 20+) saw their unemployment fall by 0.3 percent while adult women (ages 20+) saw no change in their unemployment. Teenagers (ages 16-19) saw unemployment rise by 0.5 percent being on the weaker end of the report.

Broken down by ethnicity, every category saw unemployment tick downward except for Black which saw a slight increase. The Black category is known for having a higher unemployment rate, but it has fallen at the same rate as other ethnicities. This is true even though the growth of the Black civilian labor force is higher than average. In fact, two straight months of robust labor force growth can probably be blamed for the higher unemployment rates in June and July 2018. Similarly, the swing from 2.1 percent unemployment to 3.2 percent unemployment in the Asian category is probably due to volatility in the labor force.

In unemployment rate by education, an interesting trend suggests some things about what kind of jobs are being created. Unemployment fell the most for individuals with less than a high school diploma, by 0.4 percent. While those with some college or at least a Bachelor's have fallen by about 0.1 percent. The trend initially suggests that unskilled jobs are being created more than those that require skills. However, over the past three years, the civilian labor force for the "Less than high school diploma" category has fallen by 0.2 percent every month which offsets average employment losses of 0.1 percent each month. This dynamic gives the appearance of lower unemployment, but in reality, employment is lower, and overall, it calls into question the validity of the claim that job gains are plentiful.


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