skip navigation

By the Numbers

Featuring brief segments of economic analysis from our senior economist Michael Bazdarich, PhD.

The economic analysis we previously featured in By the Numbers is now available on the Western Asset Blog. This page will no longer be updated.

Payroll Job Growth in July Continues Improvement of June

Private-sector payroll jobs rose by 217,000 in July, sustaining the better growth of June, following softer data for the 5 five months of the year. The "core" measure we track, which abstracts from especially volatile construction and retailing sectors, grew by 217,000 in July, following a gain of 221,000 in June. As seen in the accompanying chart, both of the last 2-month's gains were well above the 166,000 per month average of recent years for this measure, and they were also a marked improvement from the pace of the first 5 months of 2016.

As discussed in previous installments of By the Numbers, slow job growth through May was mostly focused in manufacturing and in industries that complement manufacturing, such as mining, logistics and professional services. All of these industries showed better job growth in July, with the exception of mining. The gains in factory production jobs and production hours worked were not sharp, which is to say they do not clearly break the downtrends that factory payrolls had been suffering through, but they were a start.

Elsewhere in today's news, household (within the unemployment dataset) showed a strong gain of 420,000, following essentially zero change over the previous 4 months. A similar-sized increase in the labor force kept the unemployment rate from dropping in July, but here too there was better news after a run of softer data in previous months.

The data today pose something of a dilemma for the Fed. Payrolls improved over the last 2 months, but they don't fully offset softer growth over the preceding 5 months. The improvement in manufacturing is tentative at best, and last week’s news puts real GDP growth at only 1.2% for the last 4 quarters, way below the Fed’s forecast. In other words, there is some fodder today supporting a rate hike, but it is balanced by less encouraging data previously. Most likely, it will take further good news on jobs and production in August for a rate hike in September to be on the table.

Private-Sector Job Growth
Private-Sector Job Growth
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistic. As of 31 Jul 16

Michael Bazdarich

Product Specialist/Economist

Mike brings more than 45 years of experience to his position. "By the Numbers" will address economic data releases that are pertinent to a broad range of investors.

Prior to joining the Firm in 2005, Mike ran his own consulting firm, MB Economics. He earned his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago.

Sign up to receive email updates as new reports are released.

© Western Asset Management Company, LLC 2022. This publication is the property of Western Asset and is intended for the sole use of its clients, consultants, and other intended recipients. It should not be forwarded to any other person. Contents herein should be treated as confidential and proprietary information. This material may not be reproduced or used in any form or medium without express written permission.
Past results are not indicative of future investment results. This publication is for informational purposes only and reflects the current opinions of Western Asset. Information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed. Opinions represented are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security and are subject to change without notice. Statements in this material should not be considered investment advice. Employees and/or clients of Western Asset may have a position in the securities mentioned. This publication has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is your responsibility to be aware of and observe the applicable laws and regulations of your country of residence.
Western Asset Management Company Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários Limitada is authorized and regulated by Comissão de Valores Mobiliários and Brazilian Central Bank. Western Asset Management Company Pty Ltd ABN 41 117 767 923 is the holder of the Australian Financial Services Licence 303160. Western Asset Management Company Pte. Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 200007692R is a holder of a Capital Markets Services Licence for fund management and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Western Asset Management Company Ltd is a registered Financial Instruments Business Operator and regulated by the Financial Services Agency of Japan. Western Asset Management Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) (FRN 145930). This communication is intended for distribution to Professional Clients only if deemed to be a financial promotion in the UK as defined by the FCA. This communication may also be intended for certain EEA countries where Western Asset has been granted permission to do so. For the current list of the approved EEA countries please contact Western Asset at +44 (0)20 7422 3000.