July Jobs Report: A Helpful Overview

LHH brings you a high-level overview of the BLS Jobs Report details that includes a look at leading and lagging professional industries, as well as unique perspectives from experts in workforce management.
AUG 10, 2023

July Jobs Report: A Quick Summary: Find the full July Jobs Report here.


We’ve been saying this a lot in 2023: this month’s Jobs Report was mostly good news, but not great news. Employers added 187,000 jobs in July and, while job gains are always good news, this figure was slightly below the Dow Jones forecast of 200,000.


On the other hand, those job gains were slightly higher than June’s numbers which were revised down to 185,000. Plus, the unemployment rate came in at 3.5%, which beat last month’s number and the estimated figure of 3.6%. Additionally, average hourly earnings also beat expectations, increasing 0.4% in July for a 4.4% annual pace.


The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.6%. While this number has held steady for five consecutive months, it is still slightly below the pre-pandemic level of 63.3% (February 2020).


Weekly hours worked fell slightly to 34.3 and the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons—individuals who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time job—fell slightly to 4.0 million in July.


Even in the face of recession forecasts for a year or more, the job market is still growing slowly, but steadily and it’s difficult to see that as anything but a positive.


Let’s take a closer look at the numbers from an industry and a regional perspective.


Leading and Lagging Industries: Here’s a quick breakdown of leading and lagging industries based on month-over-month job gains.


Leading Industries:
 In July, growth was especially strong in healthcare (+63,000 jobs), which exceeded its average monthly gains of +51,000 in the past year thanks to gains in ambulatory health care services (+35,000), hospitals (+16,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+12,000).


Employment in financial activities added 19,000 jobs in July, also exceeding their monthly average of +16,000 jobs. Additionally, employment in construction also continued an upward trend in July (+19,000 jobs) about the same as their monthly average of +17,000.


Lagging Industries: Once again, hiring in leisure and hospitality didn’t change significantly in the month (+17,000), the fourth consecutive month of little to no change for the sector. Employment in leisure and hospitality is still well below its February 2020 level by 352,000 jobs.


Professional and business services employment changed little in July (-8,000 jobs), below their monthly job growth average of +38,000 jobs in the previous 12 months. Temporary help services employment continued a downward trend (-22,000 jobs) and has lost 205,000 jobs since peaking in March 2022.


Industries such as manufacturing, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government also showed little change over the month.


Our Workforce Management Perspective


According to Laurie Chamberlin, President, LHH, North America. “Hiring seems to be slowing slightly, but the labor market is still moving along at a nice, steady pace. Those health care and financial sector numbers are nice, but there’s no incredible news here in this report. On the other hand, there also isn’t much to complain about. Demand for talent is still high among our clients, which comes as no surprise since great workers are critical regardless of the climate.


John Morgan, President of LHH Career Transition Mobility and Leadership Development had this to say: “This report is similar to ones we’ve seen all year: yes, there are job gains, but we’re still experiencing significant demand for our outplacement and career transition services.”


Kristen Leverone, LHH Global Head of Leadership Development added, “The jobs market is still steady and we’re seeing a lot of companies really focusing on retaining, upskilling, and reskilling their top people.”


Main Takeaway: Here we are again: another month of steady job growth numbers. Although both May and June’s figures were revised down—a sign that growth is certainly cooling off—we remain on a slow and balanced upward trajectory. As we enter Q3, the unemployment rate remains low and work hours remain steady, and we’re hopeful that the labor market continues to stay solid through the second half of the year. Check back with us next month for our August Jobs Report Overview.