Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

A little brighter start to the second half of 2012

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The labor market began the second half of 2012 a little brighter than in recent months, with the addition of 163,000 jobs and the unemployment rate holding roughly steady (increasing three one-hundredths of a point from 8.22% to 8.25%, the latter rounded to 8.3%). July’s rate of job growth was much stronger than the weak growth of the spring, but since the spring weakness was due in part to negative payback after warm-weather-generated hiring early in the year, July’s payroll job growth probably represents the underlying trend of the first half of the year and not necessarily a new momentum. July’s job growth of 163,000 is encouraging, and more than enough for the labor market to hold its ground as the population grows, but we still need faster job growth to meaningfully bring the unemployment rate down. At July’s rate of job growth it would take more than eight years to get back to full employment.

See more work by Heidi Shierholz