The US economy gained 222,000 jobs in June, many more than expected, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.
Economists had forecast that nonfarm payrolls increased by 178,000, according to Bloomberg.
The excess number of people employed in June over those who were laid off or fired was revised upward for both April and May. That left the June job gains roughly in line with the average increases this year and did not vastly change the overall picture of employment.
“The bottom line is that jobs are out there, and job hunters with marketable skills are in a good position to move on or move up,” said Jim Baird, the chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% from a 16-year low of 4.3%. The increase was viewed as a positive indication that more people were entering the workforce, as the labor-force participation rate indeed increased to 62.8% from 62.7%.
- Pantheon Macroeconomics
Wage growth was softer than expected and unchanged from May. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2% month-over-month and 2.5% year-over-year.
Economists expect wages to be rising at an even faster pace because the unemployment rate is near a postcrisis low, and so there should be more competition for skilled workers. But some Federal Reserve officials have noted that the lower unemployment rate is not lifting workers’ pay the way it used to partly because productivity is lower.
Retail hiring rose for the first time since January, pausing an exodus of jobs from large department stores that are losing ground to e-commerce. Retail trade gained 8,100 jobs overall, though hiring fell on net in car dealerships, electronics stores, and clothing stores.
The healthcare sector contributed the most jobs, at 37,000. The coal industry added no jobs.