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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 7, 2009

Madam Chair and Members of the Committee:

     Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the employment and
unemployment data we released this morning.
     Nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 247,000 in July, and
the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.4 percent.  Payroll
job losses over the past 3 months have now averaged 331,000,
compared with an average of 645,000 over the prior 6 months.
Employment has fallen by 6.7 million since the start of the
recession in December 2007.  In July, employment declines
continued in many of the major industry sectors.
     Construction employment fell by 76,000 over the month, with
losses throughout the component industries.  Over the past 3
months, job losses have averaged 73,000 compared with 117,000
over the prior 6 months.  Employment in construction has fallen
by 1.4 million since December 2007.
     Manufacturing employment also continued to decline, with a
loss of 52,000 in July.  Factory employment has fallen by 2.0
million since the start of the recession.
     The seasonally-adjusted employment estimate for motor
vehicles and parts rose over the month (28,000).  Because layoffs
in auto manufacturing already had been so large, fewer workers
than usual were laid off for seasonal shutdowns in July.  Thus,
the seasonally-adjusted gain does not necessarily indicate
improvement in the industry.  Employment in motor vehicles and
parts manufacturing has been on a long-term decline.  The number
of jobs in the industry, 661,000, is now half what it was early
in 2000.
     In July, job losses continued in wholesale trade,
transportation and warehousing, and financial activities.
However, these industries have lost fewer jobs on average since
May than during the prior 6 months.  Similarly, job losses have
lessened substantially in temporary help services.  Employment in
leisure and hospitality has been little changed over the past 3
months.  Health care employment grew about in line with the trend
thus far in 2009.
     Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory
workers in the private sector were up by 3 cents in July to
$18.56.  Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have
risen by 2.5 percent.  From June 2008 to June 2009, the Consumer
Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers declined
by 1.7 percent.
     Turning now to some measures from our household survey, the
unemployment rate in July was 9.4 percent, little changed for the
second consecutive month.  The rate had been 4.9 percent when the
recession began.  There were 14.5 million unemployed persons in
     The number of long-term unemployed continued to rise.  In
July, 5.0 million people had been unemployed for more than 6
months, accounting for 1 in 3 unemployed persons.
     The employment-population ratio was 59.4 percent in July.
The ratio has fallen by 3.3 percentage points since the recession
     Among the employed, there were 8.8 million persons working
part time in July who would have preferred full-time work.  After
rising sharply last fall and winter, the number of such workers
has been little changed for 4 consecutive months.
     In summary, nonfarm payroll employment fell by 247,000 in
July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.4
     My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your

Last Modified Date: August 07, 2009