Ball State economist suggests latest job report shows slowing in hiring • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
U.S. economy

Ball State economist suggests latest job report shows slowing in hiring

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U.S. economy

The latest government jobs report shows the nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in July from June at 3.7 percent and employment rose by 164,000 for the month.

While statistically the numbers suggest economic growth Ball State economist Michael Hicks believes the labor market report released Aug. 2 may look good from the outside but contains mixed signals.

He said the report shows wages nationally increased by 3.2% compared to last year, and the total labor force is now at a record high of 163.4 million.

“This looks great but embedded within the jobs report were several mixed signals,” said Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “Employment gains were concentrated in healthcare and professional and technical services the latter category may be primarily temporary employment agencies.

Hicks said his concern is continued downward revisions that have plagued the report throughout the year.

“Revisions this month cut 41,000 jobs from the May and June report,” he said. “This cut is based on administrative data received by the Labor Department (and) it is very likely this report will be downgraded as well in the coming months.”

Hicks said national job growth in 2019 has averaged about 140,000 jobs per month. This is down from 2018 job growth of slightly more than 200,000 jobs per month.


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