For the seventh straight month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a significant increase in total nonfarm payroll employment. In July, jobs increased by 943,000. Results were above analyst expectations as continued wage growth fueled the rate of hiring. The unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 5.4 percent.
Once again, gains in the leisure and hospitality industry drove much of the expansion as 380,000 new jobs were added with two-thirds of the total increase in food services and drinking places.
“Our global Network of over 300 executive search offices continue to see robust demand for executive, technical, managerial, and professional talent in every industry sector reflecting the powerful hiring demand reported in this month’s BLS employment data. In our most recently reported month, June 2021, our offices successfully completed 87 percent more search assignments versus the same prior-year period,” said Bert Miller, President and CEO of MRI. “Placement of talent in the professional services practice, which more than doubled, was our fastest growing segment, but we saw year-over-year growth exceeding 70% in all of our practice groups. We are guiding our clients to leverage this robust jobs market to select and hire talent with critical thinking skills — an attribute that will drive value throughout their entire enterprise.”
The percent of nonfarm workers reporting that they teleworked at some point in the past four weeks because of the of the pandemic declined for the third consecutive month. In July, 13.2 percent of employed persons reported teleworking, down from 14.4 percent in the prior month indicating continued acceleration in the rate of return to on-site work.
“This not only was a strong jobs report by nearly every measure, it also signals more good things to come,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.
Reporter Eric Morath of The Wall Street Journal provided additional context to today’s BLS numbers. “So far, little evidence suggests that the recent (delta strain) case surge is significantly slowing the U.S. recovery — and the economy has built up a cushion from the availability of vaccines, business reopenings, pent-up consumer demand and aid flowing from multiple rounds of government stimulus legislation.”
In July, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 380,000. With gains in food services and drinking places (+253,000). Employment also continued to increase in accommodation (+74,000) and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+53,000).
Employment in July rose by 221,000 in local government education and by 40,000 in private education. Staffing fluctuations in education due to the pandemic have distorted the normal seasonal buildup and layoff patterns, likely contributing to the job gains in July.
Employment in professional and business services rose by 60,000 in July. Within the industry, employment in the professional and technical services component rose by 43,000 over the month and is 121,000 above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level.
Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 jobs in July. Job growth occurred in transit and ground passenger transportation (+19,000), warehousing and storage (+11,000), and couriers and messengers (+8,000). The industry has recovered 92.9 percent of the jobs lost since the onset of the pandemic.
Healthcare added 37,000 jobs in July. Job gains in ambulatory healthcare services (+32,000) and hospitals (+18,000) more than offset a loss of 13,000 jobs in nursing and residential care facilities.
Employment gains in most other sectors grew modestly or were little changed versus June. Employment in manufacturing increased by 27,000 in July, largely in durable goods manufacturing. Jobs in information increased by 24,000 over the month, Employment in financial activities rose by 22,000 over the month, largely in real estate and rental and leasing (+18,000). Employment in retail trade and construction changed little in July, following large increases in the prior two months.
“I see a U.S. economy creating an additional ‘net’ 12 million new jobs by 2025. Many of these roles will be different than today. More repetitive tasks will be performed by technology rather than people; thus employers will need more employees with strong technical skills across multiple disciplines.
Teams will ultimately focus on more value-generating tasks; technology can’t make decisions and solve problems in the same way as a talented performer. Critical thinking skills will be imperative for both teams and leaders,” noted Miller.