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Politics & Money

Nation’s unemployment edges up slightly to 3.7% in June

Expert says June's job growth likely to make Feds refrain from rate cuts this month

The U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs in June, after May’s downwardly revised 75,000 advance, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the report, the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%. Overall, the number of unemployed persons increased little, coming in at 6 million in June.

The jobless rates showed little or no change over the month, coming in for men at 3.3%, whites at 3.3%, Hispanics at 4.3%, women at 3.3% teenagers at 12.7%, Asians at 2.1% and blacks at 6%

The change in total non-farm payroll employment in April was revised downward to 216,000 jobs from 224,000. With the revisions to the prior two months, employment gains in April and May combined were 11,000 less than previously reported.

“After May's weaker jobs data, which was revised even lower today, the June report takes on new importance as a sign of whether the May data was a one-month blip or the start of a new weaker trend,” Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. “The 224,000 jobs added in June are a strong bounce back and will likely make the Fed less inclined toward rate cuts later this month, especially as the unemployment rate still hovers near 50-year lows at 3.7%.”

Notably, the average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose six cents to $27.90 in June. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 3.1%.

“This month’s earnings growth of 3.1% will help buyer purchasing power, especially when combined with lower mortgage rates,” Hale said. “However, the ongoing challenge for the housing market remains an excess of demand relative to supply at lower price points. A growing construction labor force – which was up by 21 thousand workers or 3.1% (twice the overall 1.5 percent rate of job growth) from a year ago, could help, especially if builders focus on entry-level home building.”

The majority of job gains in June can be attributed to an increase in jobs in professional and business services, like transportation, warehousing and health care. However, employment showed little change in other major industries, including government, retail trade, information, leisure and hospitality, mining, financial activities and wholesale trade.

Here are some of the areas that showed notable changes in June:

  • Employment in professional and business services increased 51,000
  • Employment in health care increased 35,000
  • Employment in construction increased by 21,000

The average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.4 hours in June.

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