Chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following statement on the July job numbers, based on NFIB’s monthly economic survey that will be released on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. The survey was conducted in July and reflects the responses of 1,803 randomly-sampled NFIB members:
“July looked a lot like June in terms of job growth—namely, it was negative. The reported net change in employment per firm over the past few months (seasonally adjusted) was -.04; not as poor as June’s -0.11, but still negative at a time when growth is needed. Readings had been on the rise; from December to May they were zero or positive, suggesting that employment might be turning around. But June, and now July, have ended that possibility.
“Seasonally adjusted, 10 percent of owners surveyed added an average of 3.0 workers per firm over the past few months, but 11 percent reduced employment an average of 2.3 workers. The remaining 79 percent of owners made no net change in employment. Forty-eight (48) percent of owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months, and 38 percent (86 percent of those trying to hire or hiring) reported few or no qualified applicants for positions. Overall, there was no meaningful job creation.
“The percent of owners reporting hard to fill job openings held steady at 15 percent of all owners after falling 5 points in June; May’s reading was the best in 47 months. Job openings are highly correlated with the unemployment rate, so July offers little hope of an improvement.
“Not seasonally adjusted, 11 percent of owners plan to increase employment at their firm (up 1 point), and nine percent plan reductions, up 3 points. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners planning to create new jobs rose 2 points to five percent, a historically weak reading even if improved from June.
“Not seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners planning to create new jobs was positive in all industry groups except agriculture and retailing. Construction was weak, although positive; the strength in job creation plans was in professional and non-professional services. Regionally, job creation plans were negative in the Mid-Atlantic and Mountain states, and strongest in the South Atlantic and Central states (energy boom).
“On balance, July looks like a repeat of June, few jobs and no change in the unemployment rate. So far, it has turned out to be a cruel summer of dashed hopes for meaningful job creation.”