Economy hits sixth month of steady job gains

BY Simone Pathe  August 1, 2014 at 12:29 PM EST
Applicants wait in line to meet potential employers at the Diversity Job Fair in 2012 in New York City. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Applicants wait in line to meet potential employers at the Diversity Job Fair in 2012 in New York City. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The economy added 209,000 jobs last month, slightly fewer than expected, but still making July the sixth straight month to add more than 200,000 jobs, which economists are largely interpreting as a sign of a steady recovery.

The unemployment rate ticked up from 6.1 to 6.2 percent, but economists don’t see that as an altogether bad thing if it means more people are looking for work. In 2013, by contrast, declines in the unemployment rate were sometimes due to people dropping out of the labor force since they had stopped looking for work.

Making Sen$e’s more inclusive measure of unemployment, “The Solman Scale U7,” also increased this month, with more people unemployed and wanting a job. NewsHour has more analysis of July’s job report on the Making Sen$e page and on the broadcast Friday evening.

Solman Scale July 2014

Friday’s job report follows positive news from the Commerce Department, which reported Wednesday that the economy grew 4 percent in the second quarter, and perhaps more significantly, that first quarter growth wasn’t as bad as originally thought.

Despite those signs of growth, the Federal Open Market Committee continued to express concerns about the state of the labor market at the end of its policy meeting on Wednesday. Friday’s labor market data seems to have dampened fears that the Fed might soon increase short-term interest rates.