Last month, I took note of the fact that employment growth in June was worrying close to not being growth at all. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the picture improved markedly in July.

The year-over-year losses in the housing beneficiary sectors were quite a bit lighter than they were in June. Construction employment was down by 3,500 jobs (3.7 percent), retail employment by 500 jobs (.3 percent), and financial and real estate employment by 1,500 jobs (1.8 percent) — all a big improvement since last month. Employment outside these industries grew by 19,300 jobs (2.0 percent), which was also better than June’s growth. The economy added 13,800 jobs overall, an increase of 1.1 percent.

The decline in overall monthly employment between June and July is a seasonal effect that takes place every year. It is not meaningful and it demonstrates once again why I focus largely on the annual changes.

Interestingly, as noted by Kelly Bennett, the county’s unemployment rate increased for the year despite the growth in the number of jobs. Clearly, the number-crunching agencies in question (Kelly cited the California Employment Development Department, which provides data identical to that of the BLS) observed a growth in the labor force that exceeded the increase in employment.

— RICH TOSCANO

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