Foodservice Equipment Reports

July Jobs Numbers Better Than Expected; Consumer Confidence Measures Mixed

The U.S. economy generated 163,000 net non-farm payroll jobs in July, while the unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 8.3%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Aug. 3. The job gains were higher than most economists and observers had expected. Still, 12.8 million Americans remain unemployed and another 8.2 million are underemployed.

Increases were reported in nearly all industry segments, except government, which shed another 9,000 employees, and construction and mining, which were essentially flat. The strongest gains were seen in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and professional and business services.

Some observers saw positive news in the decline of both those marginally attached to the labor force and those discouraged from looking for work. Declines in these measures usually mean more workers are re-entering the job market.

Meanwhile, the read on consumer confidence from the two major research groups performing such research were mixed in July. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell slightly to 72.3 in July from 73.2 in June. The index stands 13.5% above its July ’11 level. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, on the other hand, rose after four straight months of moderate decline. The group’s confidence index increased to 65.9 in July from 62.7 in June.

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