July saw solid job growth, with employers adding 209,000 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That marks 82 consecutive months of job gains. Updated figures for May and June show that 2,000 more jobs were added than originally reported by the BLS. The U.S. economy has gained nearly 1.3 million new positions in 2017. Since the beginning of the year, payrolls have increased by 184,000 per month, on average.
Professional and business services and healthcare were among the top sectors leading job growth last month. The BLS reports that these industries added 49,000 and 39,000 new positions in July, respectively. Healthcare has added 327,000 jobs over the past year.
The unemployment rate declined slightly to 4.3 percent in July, matching the 16-year low that was reached in May. The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers 25 and older, the professionals in highest demand, was unchanged at 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, after hitting a record high of 6 million at the end of April, the number of job openings has declined — but not by much. In mid-July, the BLS released its latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and reported that 5.7 million jobs were still waiting to be staffed as of the last business day in May.