This morning’s jobs report showed the economy created 255,000 jobs in July. Aside from the strong payroll numbers, very little changed in key measures. The unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, and the employment-to-population ratio were little changed. And, year-over-year nominal wage growth rose by 2.6 percent, the same increase we saw last month.
While this certainly gets July on the podium, a gold medal performance would also lower the unemployment rate, bring significant numbers of new workers into the labor force, and see strong wage growth.
If we continue to see job growth like we saw in June and July, we will see improvements in all these measures over the next year, as more people come into the labor force and get jobs. But, only when wage growth is closer to 3.5 percent and stays there for a significant period of time can we say we’re at full employment.