US Employers Added 224,000 Jobs in June, Surpassing Expectations

July 5, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – U.S. employers dramatically ramped up their hiring in June, adding 224,000 jobs and far surpassing economists’ expectations that were closer to 165,000 jobs would be added, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The new numbers are particularly good news after a lackluster 72,000 jobs were added to the economy in May.

The question  now is whether the Federal Reserve will move forward with an anticipated cut in interest rates later this month, or if the new jobs numbers suggest enough of a healthy bounce in the economy to put off a rate cut indefinitely.

Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America at The Conference Board, a nonpartisan think tank, said while employment growth in 2019 is clearly slower than in 2018, the change is modest thus far. 

“Today’s report reduces concerns about a more significant slowdown in the US economy,” Levanon said. “The manufacturing sector added 17,000 jobs in June, after essentially no growth in the previous three months. Encouragingly, the number of jobs in the temporary help industry, one of the best leading indicators of employment, is growing again in the second quarter, after dropping in the first quarter.

“We expect the US economy to continue to grow slightly above its long-term two percent trend through at least the end of the year, generating enough job growth to continue tightening the labor market. In such a scenario, the need to cut the Federal Funds rate would lessen, Levanon  added.

The job gains touched nearly every segment of the economy. Construction companies added 21,000 workers after having increased their payrolls by only 5,000 in May.

Manufacturers hired 17,000, up from just 3,000 in May. Health care and social assistance added 50,500 jobs. Hiring by transportation and warehousing companies increased 23,900.

The government sector was a major source of hiring, adding 33,000 jobs in June. Almost all those gains were at the local level.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in June  from 3.6% for the previous two months, reflecting an influx of people seeking jobs who were initially counted as unemployed.

Average hourly wages rose 3.1% from a year ago.

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