Employers added 164,000 positions in July, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Since the start of 2019, the U.S. economy has seen gains of approximately 165,000 positions per month, on average, or about 1.2 million jobs so far this year. Those figures reflect revised numbers from the BLS for May and June that show businesses added 41,000 fewer positions than previously reported.

Employers in education and health services grew payrolls by 66,000 jobs last month. The professional and business services industry also saw solid job growth in July, adding 38,000 positions. That number includes 2,200 temporary help services roles. 

The following sectors also saw notable job gains in July:

  • Financial activities — 18,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing — 16,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality— 10,000 jobs added

Unemployment rate unchanged

The national unemployment rate held at 3.7% percent in July. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older was 2.2%, up from 2.1% in June. The fact that many new college graduates recently entered the hiring market may be one reason for the slight uptick in the unemployment rate for this group of highly sought-after professionals.

What employers need to know

Many businesses are looking to expand their payrolls so they have enough skilled workers on hand to see fourth-quarter projects through to completion. If your firm is among them, be prepared to face intense competition for new hires, whether you’re aim is to recruit technology workers, creative professionals or other types of in-demand talent. 

Unemployment remains low, and job seekers already have plenty of options to consider in this market. According to recent data from the BLS, 7.3 million positions were open at the end of May.

One strategy to keep work moving ahead as you search for full-time hires is to bring in skilled temporary professionals. Research from Robert Half shows that more than half (53%) of employers are more open to hiring interim workers to bridge gaps while looking for full-time staff than they were two years ago. 

Temporary employees can help ease workloads and prevent your core team members from burning out. You also can evaluate an interim professional’s skills and organizational fit while they are on the job. It can be an effective way to staff a full-time role without having to launch a new candidate search.

What job seekers need to know

If you have in-demand skills, the hiring market continues to be in your favor. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to decide where to take your career. Working as an interim professional could help you to find your path. 

In this tight hiring market, many leading companies are leaning on temporary workers to cover staffing gaps, help drive critical projects forward and more. 

If you’re concerned that interim work arrangements don’t carry weight on your resume when you’re competing for a full-time role, don’t be: It’s a myth. In fact, nearly three-quarters (71%) of senior managers from across a variety of industries who were surveyed by Robert Half reported that they consider a long period of consistent temporary work comparable to a full-time job when evaluating candidates.

Another benefit of working as an interim professional is that you can forge a relationship with a staffing firm. Specialized recruiters can help you with your full-time employment search, when you’re ready. Robert Half, for example, can connect you with a range of opportunities in several fields, provided you have the skills that employers seek. To learn more about how to work with a staffing agency, either to find temporary work opportunities or full-time jobs, see this post

Read the infographic text.


164,000 JOBS ADDED*




Unemployment RateUnemployment Rate for College Grads**
August '18 3.8% 2.0%
September '18 3.7%2.0%
October '183.8% 2.0%
November '18 3.7%2.2%
December '18 3.9%2.1%
January '19 4.0%2.4%
February '19 3.8%2.2%
March '19 3.8%2.0%
April '19 3.6% 2.1%
May '19 3.6% 2.1%
June '193.7% 2.1%
July '19 3.7%2.2%

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

**College-degreed workers 25 and older

See what these results mean for job seekers and employers at roberthalf.com/blog.


53% of managers said they are more open to hiring interim workers to bridge gaps while looking for a full-time employee than they were two years ago

Source: Accountemps survey of more than 2,800 senior managers at companies in the U.S.

© 2019 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.