Job growth accelerated much faster than expected in June, indicating that the main pillar of the US economy remains strong despite pockets of weakness.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 372,000 in the month, better than the Dow Jones estimate of 250,000 and continuing what had been a strong year for job growth, according to data released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate was 3.6%, unchanged from May and in line with estimates. An alternative measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons fell sharply, falling to 6.7% from 7.1%.
June’s gains registered a slight slowdown from the downwardly revised 384,000 in May. The April count has been revised to 368,000.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% for the month and were up 5.1% from a year ago, the latest figure being slightly above the Dow Jones estimate of 5% and indicating that wage pressures remain strong as inflation accelerates.
The wage figure may keep the Fed on the right track to increase prices in order to control inflation. Federal Reserve officials indicated a possible 0.75 percentage point rate hike at their July meeting.
By sector, education and health services created jobs, with 96,000 employees being hired, while professional and business services added 74,000 jobs. Other contributors include leisure and hospitality (67,000), healthcare (57,000), and transportation and storage (36,000).
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