Shrinking government payrolls and slower private-sector employment growth caused total nonfarm employment to fall 108,000 jobs in July, the first monthly decline since January 1996. The Census Bureau has continued to lay off temporary workers en masse (290,000 in July and 428,000 since May). Moreover, private-sector employment posted a net gain of only 138,000 jobs in July, compared to the monthly average of 182,000 workers over the first half of the year. Despite the employment decline, the unemployment rate remained at 4.0%, which suggests that most laid-off census workers may have left the labor force and so are not considered unemployed. Declining employment has caused the employment-to-population ratio to slip from its all-time high of 64.9% in April to 64.2% in July.
Suggested citation: "Labor Markets," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 00-08, pp. 11, 08.01.2000.