July jobs report comes in hot
* Nonfarm payrolls fell by 247,000 last month, much smaller than the average forecast for a reading of -325,000. June's number was revised down to -443,000 from -467,000 and May's reading was revised down to 303,000 from 322,000.
* By industry, manufacturing lost 52,000 jobs (compared to -131,000 a month earlier), construction lost 76,000 (vs. -86,000), retail trade lost 44,000 (vs. -21,000), and trade/transport lost 87,000 (vs. -45,000). The biggest job gains were in education/health (+17,000), leisure and hospitality (+9,000) and government (+7,000).
* The unemployment rate surprised as well. It dropped to 9.4% from 9.5% in the prior month. Economists were expecting it to increase to 9.6% instead.
* Average hourly earnings climbed 0.2%, an improvement from the unchanged reading in June. That was also better than the forecast for 0.1%. Average weekly hours ticked up to 33.1 from 33. Lastly, the diffusion index improved to 30.1 from 28.6. That means fewer industries overall are shedding jobs.