Don’t make too much of the headline miss on jobs–U.S. economy adds average of 224,000 jobs in past three months

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in July. That was significantly below the 190,000 economists surveyed by had predicted.

But before you panic, please note that the government’s statisticians revised the June number up to 248,000 jobs (from 213,000) and the May total to 260,000 (from 239,000.) The average over the last three months climbed to 224,000 from 211,000 thanks to the revisions.

The headline unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, well below the 4.5% that the Fed has calculated marks full employment in the U.S. economy. The full U6 unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers and part-time workers who would like to find full-time jobs, fell to 7.5% from 7.8% in June.

Average hourly wages continues to prove stubbornly resistant to change. Average hourly earnings climbed 0.26% in July after a 0.15% increase in June. Over the last 12 months average hourly earnings have climbed 2.7% against a 2.7% growth rate for the 12 months that ended in June.

The labor force participation rate was 62.9% in July, versus 62.9% in June

In other economic news, the U.S. trade deficit widened to $46.3 billion in June from $43.1 billion in May.