- Mike Segar/Reuters
- The June jobs report showed employers added 213,000 nonfarm payrolls, more than economists had expected.
- The unemployment rate jumped from 3.8%, the lowest since 2000, to 4% because more people joined the labor force to look for work.
- Wage growth slowed.
June was a record 93rd straight month in which private-sector employers hired more people than they fired or laid off. Among the strongest industries for job growth during the month was manufacturing, which extended a surge in hiring by adding 36,000 jobs even with tariffs in place. Healthcare was another strong sector.
At the same time, retail lost 22,000 jobs, partly because of the nationwide closing of Toys R Us stores, according to Gus Faucher, PNC’s chief economist.
Economists had forecast that employers added 195,000 payrolls last month, according to the median estimate compiled by Bloomberg. They had expected that the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, its lowest level since 2000.
The unemployment rate increased because more people were looking for jobs; the labor-force participation rate rose to 62.9% from 62.7%. Women stormed back into the workforce, with the participation rate among prime-age women (25 to 54) rising by 0.5%, its most since 1994.
Participation remains historically low, and many economists have pointed to the aging of baby boomers as a key reason.
Wage growth slowed in June. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% month-on-month and 2.7% year-on-year, weaker than economists had forecast. An acceleration of this rate would have shown that employers were indeed paying up for the skilled workers they say are in decreasing supply. According to a report Thursday from the human-resources-software provider ADP, business’ “number one problem is finding qualified workers.”
Faster wage growth would have also indicated that inflation was building in the economy, which hasn’t strongly been the case even though unemployment is low.