In what could be good news for the presidential aspirations of Hillary Clinton, the U.S. economy added a quarter million jobs in July, keeping the unemployment level below five percent.
In all, 255,000 new jobs were added to the economy in July, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Aug. 5. Unemployment remained at 4.9 percent, which was unchanged from the June report, Politico reported.
Most, but not all, economic indicators were positive, leading Democrats to tout their gains, while Republicans casted doubt on the new jobs report.
In addition to the new jobs, there are also indications that Americans are earning slightly more.
Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a statement that "nominal hourly earnings for private-sector workers have risen at an annual rate of 2.9 percent so far in 2016, well above the pace of inflation."
"Nevertheless, more work remains to sustain faster wage growth and to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared," Furman wrote, "including investing in infrastructure, implementing the high-standards Trans-Pacific Partnership, raising the minimum wage, and guaranteeing access to paid parental leave."
While President Barack Obama has pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it hasn't been popular among presidential candidates. After Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's primary opponent, and Republican Donald Trump both came out frequently and loudly criticizing the trade deal, Clinton herself made an about-face, eventually opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership after initially supporting it.
Pointing to weak second-quarter GDP numbers, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that "positive jobs report doesn’t mask the fact that, month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year, hard-working Americans have been waiting for the economy to improve under the Obama Administration."
While Democrats touted the numbers, Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said wage growth must reach at least 3.5 percent and remain at that rate for the economy to truly recover.
"While this certainly gets July on the podium," Gould told Politico, "a gold medal performance would also lower the unemployment rate, bring significant numbers of new workers into the labor force, and see strong wage growth."