Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.5% Despite Census Layoffs
Total non-farm payrolls declined by 125,000 in June, with layoffs of temporary 2010 Census workers weighing, as expected, on weak private-sector job growth. According to the Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau laid off 225,000 temporary workers in June who were initially brought on to complete the 2010 Census. At the same time, private-sector payroll employment edged up by 83,000, beating analyst expectations of a modest 13,000 added jobs. So far in 2010, private-sector employment rose by 593,000, but is still 7.9m jobs below levels seen in December 2007. Despite the massive layoffs at the Census Bureau and the weak private-sector job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 9.5%, from 9.7% in May, according to the DOL. The broader U-6 measure of both un- and under-employment jumped, however, to 16.7% in June, from 16.1% a month earlier, and is nearly back to its year-ago level of 16.8%. Paul Dales, US economist at Capital Economics, said in e-mailed commentary today that the data suggests the economy has lost momentum in recent months but is not yet collapsing. "Given the weaker tone of the recent economic news, this report could have been much worse," he said. "It is encouraging that the economy is still generating jobs in the private sector, although it is clear that the economic recovery has shifted into a lower gear. There is now less of a chance that private sector demand will accelerate by enough to offset the fading of the fiscal stimulus." Leisure and hospitality industries added 28,000 workers in June, while the professional and business services sector added 21,000 temporary workers. Health care employment also gained modestly, while construction employment fell by 22,000. Employment in the financial industry remained largely unchanged from May, the DOL said. Write to Diana Golobay.