Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
                          Statement of
                           Keith Hall
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics
                           before the

                    Joint Economic Committee
                     UNITED STATES CONGRESS
                     Friday, August 1, 2008

Madam Chair and Members of the Committee:

     I appreciate this opportunity to comment on the employment
and unemployment data that we released this morning.

     Nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend down in July 
(-51,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 5.5 to 5.7 percent.
Thus far in 2008, payroll employment has fallen by 463,000, or an
average of 66,000 per month.  In July, job losses continued in
several industries, including construction, manufacturing, and
employment services.  Health care and mining continued to add

     Employment in construction declined by 22,000 in July.
Since its September 2006 peak, construction employment has
decreased by 557,000.  Nearly three-fourths of the decline
(-402,000) has occurred since October 2007.

     Manufacturing employment fell by 35,000 in July.  Job losses
have averaged 39,000 per month thus far in 2008 compared with an
average loss of 22,000 per month during 2007.

     Employment services lost 34,000 jobs over the month, with
nearly all of the decline in temporary help.  Temporary help
employment has declined by 268,000 since a peak in December 2006,
with more than two-thirds of the loss (-185,000) occurring since

     In July, employment in health care rose by 33,000, in line
with the prior 12-month average.  Mining added 10,000 jobs in
July, the third consecutive gain of this magnitude.

     Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory
workers in the private sector rose by 6 cents, or 0.3 percent, in
July.  Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings rose by
3.4 percent.  From June 2007 to June 2008, the Consumer Price
Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) rose by
5.4 percent.

     Turning now to some of our measures from the household
survey, both the number of unemployed persons, at 8.8 million,
and the unemployment rate, at 5.7 percent, increased in July.

     Over the last 3 months, there has been a notable increase in
unemployment of youth (16 to 24 years).  Each summer, millions of
young people move into the labor market.  This year, the
summertime influx of youth into the labor market was about the
same as last year; however, fewer young people were able to find
jobs.  For the 3-month period, May through July, the unemployment
rate for 16- to 19-year-olds averaged 19.0 percent, compared with
an average of 15.7 percent for those same 3 months in 2007.
Similarly, the May-through-July average jobless rate for 20- to
24-year-olds was 10.2 percent this year, compared with 8.0
percent over the same period last year.  Not all of the increase
in unemployment in the last 3 months was among youth; joblessness
also rose among those 25 years and older.

     The employment-population ratio for all persons 16 years and
older was unchanged in July, at 62.4 percent, but has declined
from 63.0 percent a year earlier.  Among the employed, the number
of part-time workers who would prefer to work full time continued
to rise in July.  The number of such workers has increased by 1.4
million over the past 12 months to 5.7 million.

     To summarize July's labor market developments, payroll
employment continued to trend down, and the unemployment rate
rose to 5.7 percent.

     My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your

Last Modified Date: August 01, 2008