U.S. Labor Market Roars Back to a 16-Year Record Low

July 2017

Exceeding expectations, the U.S. labor market has continued the trend of adding U.S. jobs to the market. The labor department released its June statistics and the numbers have surprised many. Total non-farm payroll employment has increased by 222,000 in June, 47,000 more jobs than expected by economists. “The payroll number is well above expectations,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief United States economist at High-Frequency Economics.

The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4%, this steadying of the unemployment rate can be attributed to an increase of individuals entering the U.S. workforce. However, with a shrinking available labor pool, companies are trying to ramp up their hiring for skilled workers. According to Career Builders 2017 Midyear Job Forecast, approximately 60% of employers are looking to bring in more workers, a 20% rise from a year ago.

The economic expansion is now entering its ninth year with the lowest unemployment rate in 16 years.  Some feel it has reached full capacity.  With a level that’s this low, unemployment has more room to go up than down.  The U.S. has added jobs every month since October 2010, a record 81-month stretch that added 16 million workers and slowly repaired much of the damage from the 2007-09 recession.  The unemployment rate touched a 16-year low and the number of job openings hit a record earlier this year.

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