The 162,000 jobs the economy added in July were a disappointment. The quality of the jobs was even worse.
A disproportionate number of the added jobs were part-time or low-paying — or both.
Part-time work accounted for more than 65 percent of the positions
employers added in July. Low-paying retailers, restaurants and bars
supplied more than half July's job gain.
"You're getting jobs added, but they might not be the best-quality
job," says John Canally, an economist with LPL Financial in Boston.
So far this year, low-paying industries have provided 61 percent of
the nation's job growth, even though these industries represent just 39
percent of overall U.S. jobs, according to Labor Department numbers
analyzed by Moody's Analytics. Mid-paying industries have contributed
just 22 percent of this year's job gain.
"The jobs that are being created are not generating much income,"
Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA, wrote in a
note to clients.
That's one reason Americans' pay hasn't kept up with even
historically low inflation since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.
Average hourly pay fell 2 cents in July to $23.98 an hour.
Among those feeling the squeeze is Elizabeth Wilkinson, 28, of
Houston. After losing a $39,000-a-year administrative job at Rice
University in January, Wilkinson found work at an employment agency for
$15 an hour. Yet she's had to supplement that job with part-time work as