The Employment Situation update presented by the Labor Department for July of 2011 is slightly better than the bleak June report, but it’s still pretty unpleasant. With the current employment situation, it’s no wonder Americans are continuing to call this period in our history the Great Recession.
In July of 2011, overall private employment increased by 154,000, a modest rise. Most measures used to assess the employment situation showed little change. In this article, we’ll break down some of the important numbers that affect you as a job seeker.
How high was the unemployment rate in July?
According to the July Employment Situation, the unemployment rate was 9.1%, a small decrease from the 9.2% we saw in June. We are back to the same unemployment rate we had this past May. There were 13.9 million unemployed people in July 2011, a small drop from the 14.1 million in June. The size of the labor force in July, 153.2 million people, was very close to what we had in June, 153.4 million people.
Remember, the Labor Department only counts people actively looking for jobs as “unemployed.” People interested in working but not actively seeking jobs are considered “marginally attached to the labor force.”
How many people were considered “marginally attached to the labor force?”
In July, we had 2.8 million people “marginally attached to the labor force,” meaning they wanted to work and had looked for a job in the past year, but hadn’t looked for a job in the past month. This is a small increase from the 2.7 million “marginally attached” people last month.
Out of these 2.8 million people, 1.1 million were “discouraged workers.” These people gave up the job hunt because they didn’t think jobs were out there for them. They either believed the job market was too unfavorable, thought they lacked proper training and education, or were concerned about discrimination. This is a small increase from June’s 982,00 discouraged workers.
How much did the unemployment rate change for different demographic groups?
The unemployment rate dropped subtly for adult men, from 9.1% in June to 9.0% in July. Women also saw a subtle drop in unemployment, from 8.0% in June to 7.9% in July. Teens saw a small rise in unemployment, from 24.5% in June to 25% in July.
The unemployment rate for white people stayed at 8.1%. There was a small drop in the unemployment rate for Hispanic people, from June’s 11.6% to July’s 11.3%. Black people also experienced a small drop in unemployment, from last month’s 16.2% to this month’s 15.9%.
The jobless rate for Asian people was 7.7%, an increase from last month’s 6.8%, although neither percentage had been seasonally adjusted.
Like we saw last month, private companies are hiring, especially in the healthcare field. Healthcare employment rose by 31,000 in July. Like last month, ambulatory healthcare services and hospitals were very popular, filling up 14,000 jobs in July.
The second-place winner this past month was the retail trade sector. They added 26,000 employees.
The government continued laying off large numbers of employees, just like in June. The government lost 37,000 workers in July. At the state level, 32,000 workers were let go, although this was almost wholly attributable to the partial shutdown of Minnesota’s state government. Employment at the local level also suffered.
Our next loser was the financial industry. Although they didn’t do as terribly in July as they did in June, they cut 4,000 more jobs.
So, were most of the unemployed people workers who had been fired?
Yes, and this is often the case. In July, 1,268,000 people who were unemployed were on temporary layoff and 6,947,000 were not on temporary layoff. Out of the 6,947,000 people not on temporary layoff, 1,380,000 had completed temporary jobs and the other 5,567,000 had just permanently lost their jobs. Ouch.
What can I do to increase my odds of getting a job?
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The bottom line…
The employment situation improved a little in July, but it’s still bad. The increased hiring in retail may be a glimmer of hope, as more retail employees implies that more people are actually buying products. We probably aren’t going to see the employment situation improve dramatically any time soon, however, so the best thing you can do as a job seeker is to take the economic lemons and try making lemonade.