America’s employment situation: 222K jobs created in June, Fed optimistic

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday that 222,000 public and private jobs were created in June, beating analyst estimates of 179,000 new jobs in the final month of 2017’s second quarter.

“(The June report) is another illustration that the real economy is in good health.  The only disappointment is that wage growth still shows few signs of accelerating,” Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said responding to Friday’s summary. 

The BLS summary also revealed a 4.4 percent unemployment rate, which was nearly identical to May.  The number of unemployed remained at approximately 7 million and the labor participation rate rose to 62.8 percent.

Similarly, average hourly wages remained consistent with May at 2.5 percent; the average work week rose slightly to 34.5 hours.

Through the first six months of 2017, monthly job growth has averaged 180,000, which is slightly lower than the 187,000 monthly average from January to June 2016.

Friday’s job summary also included revisions to April and May jobs.  First reported at 174,000, April was revised up to 207,000 jobs and May jobs, initially determined at 138,000 was adjusted to 152,000.

Leading the greater-than-expected surge in jobs was healthcare, which witnessed 37,000 jobs added.  The health sector has averaged 24,000 jobs per month for the year.  Professional and business services experienced an uptick also, adding 35,000 jobs.  Financial activities added 17,000.

It is, however, mining which offered the biggest surprise with the addition of 8,000 new jobs.  Although 7,000 of the jobs added were in support roles, the 1,000 jobs created reverses a decade-long decline in mining jobs.  Since October 2016, the mining sector has added 56,000 more employment opportunities.

An average of 194,000 jobs have been created over the last three months. As a result of the improving U.S. economic situation, the Federal Reserve informed Congress in its semi-annual report Friday that it expects to raise interest rates again in 2017 and enact three more incremental hikes in 2018.

“The [Fed] committee currently expects that the ongoing strength in the economy will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate,” the report read.

 

[CNBC] [AP] [Photo courtesy AP via Beaumont Enterprise]

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