Heading into today’s payrolls report, there was some “whisper” expectation that the July print would be a blowout due to a spike in census hiring, however that did not happen and instead the BLS reported that last month 164K jobs were added, right on top of the 165K expected.
The strong headline print however, was weakened by substantial historical downward revisions, to wit: the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised down by 10,000 from 72,000 to 62,000, and the change for June was revised down by 31,000 from 224,000 to 193,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 41,000 less than previously reported.
What was perhaps most notable is that the report made no mention of hiring in advance of the 2020 census, and even more inexplicably federal payrolls rose just 2,000.
Offsetting the weaker downward revisions was the average hourly earnings which came in hotter than expected, as the monthly increase came in at 0.3%, above the 0.2% expected, while the annual increase of 3.3% was also above the 3.2% expected, and once again approaching the cycle highs.
Alas, not even this data point was strong as the only reason why hourly earnings rose is because average weekly hours worked dropped again, sliding to 34.3 from 34.4, the lowest since 2011.
Meanwhile, the far less notable unemployment rate was unchanged from last month, at 3.7%, just above the 3.6% expected. Of note: Hispanic unemployment rose modestly to 4.5% if still near all time lows.
Manufacturing payrolls climbed larger-than-forecast 16,000, reflecting 7,200 job gains in the motor vehicle industry.
More good news: the number of people working part-time for economic reasons plunged by 363K to 3.984 million, the lowest since April 2006.