The American economy added 215,000 new jobs last month, 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a respectable 125,000 jobs. Both the number of workers and the number of unemployed increased, and the headline unemployment rate increased from 4.9 percent to 5.0 percent. About a tenth of the new jobs were in the public sector, which is a little more than usual. Labor force participation was up by 0.1 percentage points. Overall, this was a fairly typical jobs report in the post-recovery era: not bad but not great. The labor market is showing slow and steady progress, but not enough to make up for the output gap from the Great Recession anytime soon.
Hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees were up at an annual rate of about 2.4 percent compared to last month, and weekly earnings rebounded from last month’s decline. This is also the new normal. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not exactly a sign of a booming labor market.