July jobs report exceeds expectations

The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, according to government data released Friday morning, surpassing economists’ expectations. U.S job growth surges in July, as U.S. fully regains jobs lost in recession:

The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent, compared with 4.4 percent in June, and wages rose by 2.5 percent from the year before to $26.36 in July.

“It was pretty solid across the board,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JP Morgan. “It suggests there is really no slowing in the momentum of the labor market.”


President Trump greeted the report as evidence of his administration’s success, tweeting Friday morning, “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released – and I have only just begun.”

Remember when this carnival barker con man dismissed the official unemployment rate published by the Labor Department as “such a phony number,” “one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics” and “the biggest joke there is”? He variously described the real rate as 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 and 35 percent. In August 2016, he told Time magazine that the “real unemployment rate is 42 percent.” Trump called the government’s job numbers ‘phony.’ What happens now that he’s in charge of them? The man is a shameless liar who frequently takes credit for things he has had nothing to do with. Trump says he created 600,000 jobs. Not true.

Yet average monthly jobs gains this year, which are now at 184,000, are basically in line with the average monthly gains of 187,000 in 2016.

“We’re looking at job growth that was pretty similar to what we were getting a year ago or two years ago. I just don’t think at a business cycle frequency these things respond to political developments,” Feroli said.

Steve Benen makes this same point in his monthly jobs report. U.S. job growth remains steady and strong in July:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, which is down a bit from June, but which is nevertheless further evidence of a health job market. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, inched a little lower to 4.3%.

As for the revisions, the totals for May were revised down, while June were revised up, and combined they show a net gain of about 2,000 jobs.

All told, if current averages keep up, we’re on track to see the U.S. economy add about 2.2 million jobs this calendar year, which would be roughly in line with what we saw last year.

Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction: red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush and Trump administrations, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.


The Post report continues:

July’s additions also signify a notable turning point for the U.S. economy: After accounting for shifts in population, the level of employment has returned to what it was at in November 2007, before the recession decimated the job market, according to new research by the Brooking Institution’s Hamilton project.

“It does not mean there’s no slack in the economy, [or] that we’re at full employment. But it does mean the job losses from the great recession are behind us,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, one of the report’s authors.

So it took a decade to dig out of the hole that George W. Bush and his GOP controlled Congress dug for the economy, followed by the scorched earth obstructionism of evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell and a Tea-Publican Congress to every economic recovery plan put forward by President Barack Obama. Ol’ Mitch wanted President Obama “to fail” rather than to do anything to help the economy recover and put people back to work. And this came after the Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. economy, workers:

For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers.

* * *

There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

And the net worth of American households — the value of their houses, retirement funds and other assets minus debts — has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s.

The key finding: “[B]eyond these dramatic ups and downs lies an even more sobering reality: long-term economic stagnation.”

This economic stagnation has continued as a result of Republican policies, and is the source of Americans economic insecurity and discontent (and yet they continue to vote for their oppressors out of some kind of Stockholm syndrome).

Now, this is where a certain blog troll who seems to think that the stock market is the U.S. economy — it is not, it is only a slice of publicly traded companies in a much larger and far more complex economy — will extol the so-called “Trump rally” that has led the stock market to a record closing over 22,000 this week.

This would be the same stock market rally that Donald Trump “assailed as a mirage and mused about a potential conspiracy that was being plotted between Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, and President Barack Obama.” Trump Praises the Stock Market at 22,000 That He Said Was a Bubble at 18,000:

Before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Trump decided to dispense some financial advice. The recent dip in stocks was a harbinger of worse things to come, he warned, and he hoped that the coming crash did not happen after Mr. Obama left office.

“Remember the word bubble? You heard it here first. I don’t want to sound rude, but I hope if it explodes, it’s going to be now, rather than two months into another administration,” Mr. Trump said in December 2015.

Although he was feeling confident about locking up the Republican nomination in April 2016, Mr. Trump was feeling increasingly bearish about stocks. He told The Washington Post that they were overvalued and that the strong data that showed a healthy economy were essentially phony.

“I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble. A financial bubble,” Mr. Trump said.

By September, he was arguing that the Federal Reserve was propping up a “false economy” that is actually weak.

“The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market,” Mr. Trump told Reuters.

Mr. Trump saved his most brutal assessment of the stock market, and the economy, for his first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton. In response to her criticism of his economic proposals, he said that the recovery was the worst since the Great Depression and that it would come crashing down the moment that interest rates rise.

When compared in context, the so-called “Trump rally” is not as significant as those for George H.W. Bush, who inherited a growing economy, or Barack Obama, who inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Trump stock market performance eclipsed by Obama and Bush:

President Trump regularly boasts about the stock market’s strong performance since his inauguration, including how the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at a record high. What Trump hasn’t noted, however, is that Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush oversaw greater stock market expansion during their first six months in office, as judged by percentage growth of the S&P 500.

Context: Obama took office in the midst of an economic recession, so much of his S&P 500 increase was a rebound from the depths. Trump, on the other hand, inherited an already-growing market that has accelerated since his inauguration.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 7.32.40 AM

Data: S&P Global Market Intelligence, Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios.

And How the Dow performed under Trump vs other presidents:

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 7.21.57 AM

Data: Samuel H. Williamson, MeasuringWorth; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios.

21 thoughts on “July jobs report exceeds expectations”

  1. AzBM, I wanted to write you and thank you for another fine unbiased analysis of the job report, but I can’t. You spent most of your message bashing Trump viciously and saying anything you could to try and deny him credit for the optimistic financial job record and the ever more optimistic outlook for the overall economy. You and Tom both try to assign the credit for these economic successes to Obama which is downright silly. Just a few Job Reports back you made a point of telling me that, when it comes to analyzing these Job Reports, you worked hard to remain impartial and unbiased. This analysis does not live up to that standard you set for yourself.

    • Pray tell what Trump has done to improve the economy? The only major piece of legislation that has been passed is the Russian Sanctions bill opposed by Trump and Tillerson, and for which Trump attached a presidential signing statement objecting to Congress tying his hands. His Obamacare repeal bill failed spectacularly with Republican votes. The tax “reform” bill (tax cuts for the one percent) appears dead in the water as well (and that’s where all the Wall Street “optimism” comes from). And the infrastructure bill … what bill? Not a single appropriations bill is ready to pass, and the debt ceiling has to be raised by September 29. If this does not happen and the U.S. defaults because of the House GOP Freedom Caucus and a weak president, there is going to be another GOP financial disaster.

      Presidents rarely can take credit for economic performance in their first year in office for the obvious reasons of the time it takes to pass legislation and a budget, and the fact their predecessor’s budget and policy priorities are in place until the new fiscal year in October. The first year is a residual from the previous administration. They do not “own” the economy until their first budget and legislative priorities have been enacted. This has not yet happened.

      Here are excerpts from a CNBC report that essentially makes the same points: Economists say President Donald Trump may be overstating his responsibility for recent better growth and jobs numbers, [and] say his policies may have had a limited positive influence in some areas. At the same time, they warn, there are ways the president might also be a drag on growth. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/01/trump-growth-policies-economy.html

      “Economists say it’s difficult for any president to have much effect on growth in the first full quarter in office, particularly one who hasn’t passed any major economic legislation. To the contrary, the failure of health-care reform so far looks to have caused Wall Street to push back its expectations for tax reform and mark down the chance of it happening at all.”

      “In any event, these are early days to suggest that the president’s policies have affected long-run capital spending. ”

      “Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, says the president’s immigration and trade policies along with the uncertainty his chaotic administration has created could actually be drags on growth.”

      “Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says it’s too early to conclude either way about the Trump effect. He says the economy was “doing fine” before he took office and hasn’t changed much. He did add the president will get a chance to have a real impact in coming months. “They have got to raise the debt limit and pass a budget,” Zandi said. “If they don’t do that, it will do real damage.””

      • ”Pray tell what Trump has done to improve the economy?”

        First of all, let’s get rid of the hysteria over how much impact Presidents have on the economy. Congress can pass legislation that affects the economy and the President can support such legislation, but the President himself has very little he can do personally to impact it. What he can do is to serve as a sort of cheerleader for the nation and the economy and by his attitude affect the way that businesses and industry view the future of economic opportunities. From the moment Trump was elected and came into office, business and industry experienced a new found optimism about the future of the economy and all indicators demonstrated that. The Stock Market, Job Reports, Permits for new Construction, Home Sales, et. al., took an upturn when Trump was elected.

        ”The only major piece of legislation that has been passed is the Russian Sanctions bill opposed by Trump and Tillerson…/…His Obamacare repeal bill failed spectacularly…/…And the infrastructure bill … what bill?

        Yes, Trump has had problems with his bills and Congress. Where Obamacare is concerned, I am glad he did. Those problems with his bills may continue into the future and it may well affect the economic outlook for the country If that causes things to go down the toilet, then Trump owns it and I will freely admit it. But it hasn’t happened yet, so I will wait until it does to admit such an occurrence.

        ”The tax “reform” bill (tax cuts for the one percent) appears dead in the water as well (and that’s where all the Wall Street “optimism” comes from).”

        Perhaps that, too, will be the case, but let’s wait until it happens to declare it a done deal, okay? Until then, Wall Street seems rather pleased with what they see and a lot of Pension Funds are grateful for it.

        ”Not a single appropriations bill is ready to pass, and the debt ceiling has to be raised by September 29. If this does not happen and the U.S. defaults because of the House GOP Freedom Caucus and a weak president, there is going to be another GOP financial disaster.”

        Is it because there isn’t anything really happening in the present that you have to constantly project “what ifs” from the future? Again, let’s just wait and see what happens…until then it is just you trying to incite fear.

        ”Presidents rarely can take credit for economic performance in their first year in office for the obvious reasons of the time it takes to pass legislation and a budget, and the fact their predecessor’s budget and policy priorities are in place until the new fiscal year in October.”

        AzBM, that sounds very reasonable and I could actually go along with that if not for the fact that when the Job Report stumbled a little while back, you tried to tie it to Trump. I also recall that during Obama’s first year there were constant efforts (not yours) to give him credit for any improvement in the economy.

        ”The first year is a residual from the previous administration. They do not “own” the economy until their first budget and legislative priorities have been enacted. This has not yet happened.”

        You know what, AzBM? As I think about it, that makes imminent sense to me. I am going to accept that as the “rule” from now on. I still think Trump has something to do with the steep rise in the Stock Market and some influence over the other reports because of the psychology of the economy, but for practicality sake, 10 to 12 months is not unreasonable to ascribe influence from the previous administration.

        Thanks for taking the time to explain this issue further with me. I do appreciate it when someone shares a more refined and better point of view with me. ;o)

    • “We’re still in the Obama recovery.”

      No we’re not, and you know it. It is silly in the extreme to give Obama credit for the economy some seven months into Trump’s administration. You know as well as I do that if the reports were bad, you would be saying this is Trump’s economy. You might try being honest, Tom. Who knows? You might like it for a change…

      • Okay, put aside what FSNT would be saying if the reports were bad.

        Do you contend that there really is no lag between policy implementation and performance? Or are you saying there is some lag, just not 7 months? Do you have the expertise to weigh in on this?

        • ”Do you contend that there really is no lag between policy implementation and performance?

          No, Bob, I think there is a lag time. Up until about 20 minutes ago, I thought it was around 6 to 7 months. However, AzBM told me his perspective and explained fiscal cycles and it made sense that 10 to 12 months was more reasonable. I still think that Trump had some psychological effect on the business world because of the sharp increase in the value of the Stock Market that occurred suddenly when he was sworn in. I also think that Trump had the same effect, to a lesser degree, on the job report, and other measures of business vitality, but the majority of effect was a carryover from legislation during Obamas era.

          Do you have the expertise to weigh in on this?”

          Of course I don’t have any technical expertise to weight in on this, Bob. Has that ever stopped me before? ;o)

          What I do have are the powers of observation, a reasonably good faculty for deduction, and an interest in corresponding with people here. After all, you guys are nice enough to let me post here, I enjoy doing so, and, every once in a while, I learn something new and have to look at things a little different. Even AzBM gets me to thinking about things in a way I hadn’t though about before. It’s all gravy as far as I am concerned. ;o)

  2. “It took a decade to dig out of the hole that George Bush dug.”

    Economics is much more complex than you are positing. Bob Lucas won the Nobel prize in economics for his theory of rational expectations.

    In 2008, as the probability of Obama becoming president went from 15% to 70%, the economy weakened and then collapsed. That hole wasn’t Bush’s hole, it was Obama’s hole.

    Obama’s close out years of 1.8% and 2.0% growth are exactly what he designed – a European economy.

    When Trump surprised the economy by being elected, the stock market jumped 4.1 trillion dollars. He wasn’t rationally expected – thus an almost perfect experiment.

    That’s on top of the 7 trillion the stock market had already gone up as Obama was slowly being walked to the door.

    The stock market is saying that the future, the Trump economy, is going to be a hell of a lot better than the current Obama economy. Otherwise, we are in for one hell of a nasty correction, which may well happen.

    It is saying that an enormous number of people are going to be sucked out of welfare, out of our schools and out of our homes into the taxpaying economy.

    It is also saying that illegal immigration is likely to kick back into gear as they figure out how to avoid the new tough enforcement by being a lot more law abiding.

      • Your commentary has hit a new intellectual low. It’s amazing how Trump makes liberals “bat shit crazy.”

        • Life is too short to suffer fools, and John Huppenthal has repeatedly demonstrated over many years that he is a class-A fool. He is neither entitled to nor deserving of respect nor will he receive any from me. I’m not one of those “bleeding heart liberals” you mock who believe everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity, civility and respect, that is something which must be earned and merited. Your broad generalization to all liberals from my dismissive comment to this fool and pain-in-the-ass blog troll makes you little more deserving.

      • We’ll see.

        Obama closed out at less than 2% growth for his last two years.

        Reagan closed out at 5.7% and 3.7%.

        We’ll see if Trump can get his tax reform and what his economy does next year.

        You have a year to destroy him and stop America’s success.

        Go for it.

      • He’s not bat shit crazy. He’s dishonest. He knows that the day the likelihood of Obama winning hit 70% was the same day Lehman Brothers closed its doors, yet he knowingly peddles this canard that Obama caused the crash that followed. Recently, he testified in court that he wasn’t really sorry for the comments he posted on TD site and others, despite his tear-soaked apology from three years ago. The guy’s a total fraud.

        • The total fraud is you Bob. There’s agreement on both left and right that breaking trust with anonymous posters is unethical and dishonest.

          My tears, if you will recall, had nothing to do with me, the question was about my assistant and other people around me who had trusted their lives to me. My tears were for them.

          Also, I had been working 24/7 defending the education system from the Common Core barbarians. I was beyond exhausted.

          I went back over my comments. Harsh truth was all that was there. Nothing to apologize for.

          Your bigoted interpretation of my comments comes from thinking that I grew up a rich republican. Not so. I am a poor kid from south tucson. I know how to escape extreme poverty.

          Being ready to starve to death before you go on welfare helps.

          I have also come to understand that under your superficial veneer, you all are exactly what you scream that I am. You are bigoted racists, dedicated to trapping children of color and poverty and keeping them in poverty with poor schools and easy welfare.

          You found it easy to call Marco Rubio a half-breed, James Brown a mediocre negro and Clarence Thomas a product of affirmative action.

          You all are racist to the core – on top of running a dishonest blog.

          • Being ready to starve to death before taking help is stupid.

            It would literally be suicide by ego.

            What an odd thing to brag about.

          • Given your experience with this blog, John, I have to wonder why you still post comments. Most people would have moved on. It really appears that you have some kind of obsession that is related to a need for vindication. There are a lot better things to do with your time than spewing contrary opinions at people who are mostly unresponsive. And making this kind of statement, “You all are racist to the core – on top of running a dishonest blog”, really shows that you are here for vindictive reasons.

  3. More speculation than fact in this blog post and a false premise that nothing Trump has done (such as, deregulation) did anything. It’s really too early to judge. But, CNN does offer some facts:

    “With July’s jobs report, employers have added a total of 1,074,000 jobs during Trump’s first six full months in office.
    That essentially matches the 1,084,000 jobs created during President Barack Obama’s last six months in office. Both round to 1.1 million, and the 10,000 difference is well within the margin of error of the Labor Department estimate…

    The economy lost 515,000 jobs during the first six months of George W. Bush’s tenure, in 2001, when the country was falling into a recession. But by the first six months of his second term, employers added 1.5 million jobs, outpacing Trump’s six-month total.

    President Bill Clinton’s six-month totals were 1.3 million jobs added in his first term (in 1993) and 1.7 million in his second term (in 1997).
    Trump’s figures could still improve: The readings for June and July are still preliminary, and other months could be revised, too.”

    This latest report can only generate speculation, much of it biased.

      • Economics is not so simple. Maybe if you liberals did not push the policy that everyone has a right to a mortgage, we might not have gone into as bad as recession.

  4. A lot of Trump’s tweets for the past couple of days are about how great the economy is doing because of him. I might add that a number of his other tweets for the past few days lead me to believe that he isn’t writing them himself. He might be subject to adult supervision right now.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 4h4 hours ago

    Excellent Jobs Numbers just released – and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 6h6 hours ago

    West Virginia was incredible last night. Crowds and enthusiasm were beyond, GDP at 3%, wow!Dem Governor became a Republican last night.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 6h6 hours ago

    Consumer confidence is at a 16 year high….and for good reason. Much more regulation “busting” to come. Working hard on tax cuts & reform!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 7h7 hours ago

    ….and don’t forget that Foxconn will be spending up to 10 billion dollars on a top of the line plant/plants in Wisconsin.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 7h7 hours ago

    Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the U.S.A. and create 4K new American jobs. A great investment in American manufacturing!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump Aug 3

    I am continuing to get rid of costly and unnecessary regulations. Much work left to do but effect will be great! Business & jobs will grow.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump Aug 3

    Business is looking better than ever with business enthusiasm at record levels. Stock Market at an all-time high. That doesn’t just happen!

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