Job Market Update: July 2015 

For the month of June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment rose by 223,000 new jobs with the unemployment rate falling to 5.3%. Employment increased in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, finance, and transportation and warehousing. Average hourly earnings for employees were unchanged at $24.95 in June.

The June report has many experts disappointed, expecting more significant improvement, but standings from June remain stable and reflect a broader pattern of improvement for the jobs market that shouldn't go unnoticed. The fact remains that the 5.3% unemployment rate is the lowest reported since April of 2008 – a longstanding sign of stability and rebound. Taking a further step back, the U.S. has shown increases in employment for 57 consecutive months, making a rare trend in growth. It's been three years since the U.S. has seen a notably poor month for job growth. Since 2012, the U.S. has added an average of 220,000 jobs each month – totaling around 8 million jobs in the last three years alone.

In Your Industry

Professional & Business Services

In the Professional & Business Services industry, 64,000 new jobs were added in the month of June. This was mostly in line with the average monthly gain of 57,000 jobs each month over the past year.

Health Care

Health care employment increased by 40,000 in June, compared with an average gain of 34,000 per month over the past year. June marked a month of widespread employment growth for the industry, reporting job gains in ambulatory health care services, hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities.


In June, retail trade job gains were 33,000 – totaling 300,000 new jobs over the past year. General merchandise stores reported 10,000 new jobs over the month of June.


Financial services showed an increase in 20,000 jobs in June. Gains in insurance and related activities were around 9,000 and 7,000 new jobs were estimated in securities, commodity contracts, and investments. Commercial banking declined in June by 6,000. The industry has added 159,000 jobs in the last 12 months and the insurance segment of the industry has accounted for about half of that number.

Transportation & Warehousing

In the transportation and warehousing industry, 17,000 new jobs were added in June. This totals about 152,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Truck transportation continues to show a growth trend, adding 7,000 new jobs last month.

In Your Region

In the month of May, regional and state unemployment remained mostly stagnant. Twenty-five states reported an increase in unemployment from April and 9 states reported decreases. Over the year, 45 states have reported unemployment rate decreases and five have reported increases. In May, nonfarm payroll unemployment increased in 37 states and decreased in 12 states. California, New York and Texas displayed the largest increases in employment. Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Carolina reported the largest decrease in employment over-the-month. Percentage-wise, North Dakota reported the largest decline in employment, followed by Washington D.C. and Wyoming. Over the course of the past year, employment (nonfarm) increased in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases in employment over-the-year were reported from Utah and Washington.

The Midwest as a region reported the lowest unemployment rate at 5.1% and the West reported the highest rate at 5.8%. In May, no region reported a significant rate change, but over-the-year rate changes were significant in all four regions. The West dropped 1 percentage point, the Midwest dropped 0.9%, and Northeast and South dropped 0.7% each.

In May, Nebraska reported the lowest rate of unemployment, at 2.6%. West Virginia held the highest rate at 7.2%. The U.S. average, 5.5%, leaves 21 states with lower percentages and 10 with notably higher rates. 19 states report unemployment rates that are comparable to the national average. Three states reported significant over-the-month increases in May: North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The three states with notable declines were Indiana, Connecticut, and Washington. The remaining states did not report a noteworthy shift in their unemployment rates.

Since May 2014, 24 states have reported notable rate declines. The largest of these declines occurred in Rhode Island (dropping 2 percentage points). The one notable increase in unemployment over the past year occurred in North Dakota, with a 0.4% increase.

Regional Numbers


The Mid-Atlantic region reported an average unemployment rate of 5.8%. Maryland remained unchanged with a rate of 5.3%, but the remaining states displayed changes in unemployment rates. Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania reported an increase in unemployment with West Virginia showing the most notable increase from 7.0% to 7.2%. The District of Columbia was the only state to report a decrease in unemployment, from 7.5% to 7.3%.


The Midwest region reported an average unemployment rate of 4.4%. States that reported an increase in unemployment included South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, with most increasing by just 0.1% and South Dakota and Wisconsin increasing by 0.2%. Indiana reported a more notable decrease in their unemployment rate, dropping from 5.4% to 5.1%. Ohio, Illinois, and North Dakota remained unchanged.


The Mountain-Plains region reported an average unemployment rate of 4.3%. Utah, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri each reported an increase of 0.1%. Wyoming remained unchanged at 4.1% and Montana reported a decrease from 4.0% to 3.9%.

New England

The New England region reported an average unemployment rate of 4.8%. Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire remained unchanged at 4.7%, 3.6% and 3.8%, respectively. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island each decreased in unemployment rates: Massachusetts dropped from 4.7 to 4.6%, and Connecticut and Rhode Island both decreased by 0.2%, from 6.2 to 6.0% and from 6.1 to 5.9%, respectively.

New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico

The New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico region reported an average unemployment rate of 8.2%. New York and New Jersey remained unchanged at 5.7% and 6.5%, respectively. Puerto Rico reported an increase in unemployment from 12.2% to 12.4%.


The Southeast region reported an average unemployment rate of 6.0%. Most states reported an increase in unemployment; nearly all reporting just a slight 0.1% increase apart from Alabama, which reported 0.3% increase from 5.8% to 6.1%. Tennessee reported a decrease from 6.0% to 5.8%, and Kentucky remained unchanged at 5.1%.


The Southwest region reported an unemployment rate of 5.4%. New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana remained unchanged at 6.2%, 5.7%, and 6.6%, respectively. Texas an Oklahoma reported a slight increase from 4.2% to 4.3% and 4.1 to 4.3%, respectively.


The Western region reported an average unemployment rate of 5.6%. Washington, Nevada, Alaska and California each decreased by 0.1%, and Arizona's unemployment rate decreased by 0.2%, from 6.0% to 5.8%. Oregon and Idaho reported an increase, from 5.2% to 5.3% and from 3.8% to 3.9%, respectively. Hawaii remained unchanged with an unemployment rate of 4.1%.