U.S. payrolls grew less than expected in July, a potential sign that the labor market recovery might be cooling after an early summer hiring spike. According to the Department of Labor, the economy added 209,000 jobs in July, falling short of the 233,000 predicted by economists. The national unemployment rate increased from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent. The change reflects a surge in people returning to the labor market, which brought the labor participation rate up to 62.9 percent.
Meanwhile, payrolls for May and June were bumped upward to reflect stronger growth, increasing to 229,000 and 298,000, respectively. The biggest gains in July were seen in professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade, and construction. As of July, nearly 9.7 million people in the United States were counted as unemployed, an increase of 200,000 from June, but in spite of this development, employment has still grown by at least 200,000 jobs each month for the past six months.
In a quarterly survey conducted by Zillow and Pulsenomics, a panel of economists, real estate experts, and market strategists agreed that the median age of first-time homebuyers is likely to keep moving up in the next decade as millennials wait longer to purchase homes. Sixty-one percent of experts said they expect the median age of first-time buyers to rise to 32 or 33 by 2024. Another 24 percent say that figure could climb even higher, rising to 34 years or older. Analysts have pointed to student loan debts and limited job prospects to explain why millennials are not buying homes.