According to monthly jobs report published in August 2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. economy generated 209,000 new jobs in July 2017. The unemployment rate relatively steady at 4.3%, as did the labor-force participate rate at 62.9%. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls stayed unchanged at 34.5 hours.
Employment growth was strongest in food services and drinking places (+53,000 jobs), professional and business services (+49,000 jobs), and health care (+39,000 jobs).
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 9 cents to $26.36. In July, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and non-supervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $22.10.
Job Openings at an All-Time High
In June 2017, job openings hit an all-time high. Nearly 6.2 million positions were open, up from 5.7 million openings in June. The highest level of vacancies was found in sectors such as construction, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities. Health care and social assistance openings were at 1.14 million. Even the government sector had 575,000 vacancies tying the highest level the United States has seen since 2010. The most unfilled positons were found in the geographic South at nearly 2.2 million, followed by the Midwest at 1.5 million.
This assessment is corroborated by the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by the Labor Department, which showed that U.S. job openings hit a record high in June 2017, outpacing hiring and indicating that companies are having trouble finding qualified workers. According to the report, the gap between job openings and hiring indicates a skills mismatch.
According to a layoff report published by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S employers announced plans to cut payrolls by 28,307 jobs in July, the lowest monthly total since November 2016, while over 88,000 hiring announcements were recorded. This makes July 2017 the third-highest hiring month of the year and the highest July total on record.