June Job Gains Surpass Expectations

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The U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.25.

In oil markets, prices slipped by more than 2.5 percent on Friday as news of a further increase in USA production added to earlier reports that OPEC output was also on the rise.

However, the United States unemployment rate ticked higher to 4.4 per cent, from 4.3 per cent previously, and earnings were up only 2.5 per cent year on year, slightly lower than expected. Health care posted the biggest job gain — 59,100 — despite uncertainty around health care legislation in Congress. Governments added an unusually high 35,000 positions, almost all of them at the local level. Normally, as the number of unemployed dwindles, employers raise pay to attract job seekers. Mining, an area where Trump has promised to bring back jobs, added 8,000 over the month but manufacturing and construction saw little change.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect employers to have added 178,000 jobs in June, above the average pace of 162,000 jobs per month added during the first five months of the year.

The unemployment rate has become one of the more positive labor market indicators.

Health care employment is also in a growth mode, though not quite as vigorously as previous year.

Pappalardo expects little change in the market's recent momentum, considering how the June report offered a consistent picture of the USA economy. Though the rate of job growth has slowed since 2014 and 2015, it's still enough to draw in people who had previously stopped looking for work. The jobless rate has fallen four-tenths of a percentage point this year and is near the most recent Fed median forecast for 2017.

But Allianz's Ripley said tighter labor markets with the economy headed toward full employment should drive further wage increases. In June, the underemployment rate rose to 8.6%.

Expectations for a June job increase were around 179,000 - a figure that was easily exceeded.

The latest numbers show that despite a shortage of skilled workers, companies are still hiring. The industry has added 277,000 jobs over the year. The April figure rose by 33,000 to 207,000 and the May total climbed by 14,000 to 152,000.

Of course, Trump's five-month record is far better than Obama's first five months, when 3 million jobs were lost.