Analysts: July Jobs Report Suggests Possibility of Economy’s Soft Landing

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Healthcare, social assistance, financial activities and wholesale trade led the country’s job gains in July.

A total of 187,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in a Friday (Aug. 4) press release. That total was less than the average monthly gain of 312,000 that has been reported over the prior year.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.5%, which was little changed and remained within the range of 3.4% to 3.7% that has been seen since March 2022, according to the release.

July’s job gains were solid but somewhat less than forecast, Bloomberg reported Friday. The unemployment rate’s drop was not anticipated, the report added.

Growth in pay showed signs of slowing, suggesting that the Federal Reserve can tamp down price pressures while avoiding a recession, the report said.

National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) Economist Noah Yosif said in a statement emailed to PYMNTS that while the headline numbers were lower than expected, “the July jobs report affirms a cooldown, rather than collapse, in the labor market against rising interest rates and tightening economic conditions.”

Yosif added, “These trends offer further support to the possibility of a soft-landing, which will require the Fed to synchronize its timing on monetary policy with the pace of deceleration in the labor market.”

The healthcare sector added 63,000 jobs in July, higher than the average monthly gain of 51,000 seen in the prior 12 months, according to the BLS press release.

Social assistance added 24,000 jobs during the month, in line with the average monthly gain of 23,000.

The financial activities sector added 19,000 jobs in July, with a gain of 12,000 jobs in real estate and rental and leasing partially offset by a loss of 3,000 jobs in commercial banking.

“The [financial activities] industry has added an average of 16,000 jobs per month in the second quarter of the year, after employment was essentially flat in the first quarter,” the BLS said in the release.

Wholesale trade added 18,000 jobs in July after job growth in the sector was essentially flat in recent months.

The “other services” industry added 20,000 jobs, higher than the average monthly gain of 15,000 seen over the past year. One big gainer in this sector was personal and laundry services, which added 11,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries was little changed, according to the release.