The United States economy added a solid 209,000 jobs in July, exceeding economists’ estimates as the labor market shows few signs of slowing down. The unemployment rate last month fell to 4.3% from 4.4%, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
The labor market has churned out nearly 1.3 million jobs in the first seven months of the year, maintaining the momentum that started nearly seven years ago under President Barack Obama. In the past three months, the labor market has averaged 195,000 jobs a month. Reports for May and June were revised upward by 2,000 jobs.
President Trump has highlighted the solid jobs reports — the same he criticized as fraudulent while campaigning for the White House — as evidence that his economic plan is boosting growth.
And he quickly took to Twitter Friday to trumpet the July report and also took credit this week for faster economic growth and the surge in the Dow Jones industrial average, which hit another milestone on Wednesday, eclipsing 22,000.
Yet the Wall Street gains, about 9%, during the first six months of the Trump administration are slower than those under Obama (22.6%) and President George H.W. Bush (20.1%), according to Bloomberg.
“We have a growth rate — a GDP — which has been much higher than, as you know, anybody anticipated, except maybe us,” Trump said this week. “But it's going to go up. It's going to go higher, too.”
”Our economy is making steady progress with more people entering the labor force and continued job creation,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Friday.
“But this report also shows too many Americans are still having a hard time finding good-paying jobs, getting a raise and providing for their families,” Brady said. He added that tax reform is the best way to boost the economy and create jobs.
Hourly earnings, which ticked up slightly last month (0.3%) and have risen 2.5% over the year, remain sluggish despite the continued steady pace of monthly jobs growth.
Senator Martin Heinrich, (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee, criticized Trump for the lack of a jobs plan.
”After nearly eight months on the job, President Trump has failed to come up with a cogent plan to create good-paying jobs and increase wages,” Heinrich said.
“As a result, wages are barely exceeding inflation, and more than 100,000 workers have been laid off as companies continue to close American operations and ship jobs overseas,” he said.
Employment for prime-age workers (25–54) hit a post-recession high last month, he said, rising to 78.5 percent, gradually moving back toward the 80.3 percent reached in January 2007.