U.S. unemployment rate continues to drop, jobs continue to grow | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 4, 2017

U.S. unemployment rate continues to drop, jobs continue to grow

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 9:19 AM

click to enlarge RECOVERY CONTINUES: Bureau of Labor Statistics data from January 2007 to July 2017 shows the decline in unemployment is part of a larger trednd. - ST. LOUIS FEDERAL RESERVE
  • ST. LOUIS FEDERAL RESERVE
  • RECOVERY CONTINUES: Bureau of Labor Statistics data from January 2007 to July 2017 shows the decline in unemployment is part of a larger trednd.

The national unemployment rate now stands at 4.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning, after employers added around 209,000 jobs last month. The numbers were better than expected and spell good news for the economy, analysts said.

That places the national unemployment rate near the mark that economists refer to as "full employment." Today's BLS numbers aren't state-specific, but Arkansas's unemployment rate last month remained at a historic low of 3.4 percent.

Observation: These numbers are essentially a continuation of the same trends, both good and not-so-good, that have been with us since the recession ended. Unemployment has declined steadily. At the same time, growth in wages has lagged behind growth in jobs, underscoring the longer-term trend toward greater income and wealth inequality in the U.S. Of the latest labor figures, NPR reports:
The Labor Department's numbers aren't quite that bad, but they do show wage growth averaging 2.5 percent in the past four months after peaking at 2.9 percent in December. (The latest figures will be part of Friday's employment report for July.) Chamberlain says wage growth at this stage of an economic recovery should be close to 3.5 percent.
And, aggregate figures for both unemployment and earnings can mask regional and demographic inequalities, as a recent study highlighted by the Economist points out.
This was all true under President Obama, and it's equally true under President Trump. Though it's fair to note that — as Trump delights in saying, and vastly overstating — the stock market has surged since his inauguration. Much as the Obamacare-fueled economic apocalypse predicted by conservatives never came to pass, neither has Trump yet destabilized the economy in the way some predicted.

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