Strong job growth in June suggests cause for optimism

Washington, DC–Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 287,000 in June, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, and financial activities. Employment also increased in information, mostly reflecting the return of workers from a strike.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.9 percent in June, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 347,000 to 7.8 million. These increases largely offset declines in May and brought both measures back in line with levels that had prevailed from August 2015 to April.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.5 percent) and Whites (4.4 percent) rose in June. The rates for adult men (4.5 percent), teenagers (16.0 percent), Blacks (8.6 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (5.8 percent) showed little or no change.

“In June, the U.S. economy demonstrated its resilience once again. All told, American businesses have added 14.8 million jobs since February 2010, a remarkable recovery from the greatest economic crisis of our lifetimes. In June, the unemployment rate remained below 5 percent – down from 10 percent at the height of the recession. Weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance have been below 300,000 for 70 weeks, the longest streak since 1973”, said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

“Other data suggest similar cause for optimism. Consumer confidence has bounced back to its pre-recession levels. Consumer spending rose noticeably in April and May. The American auto industry has come roaring back from near death – 2015 saw record auto sales, and sales remain strong in 2016. There were 5.8 million job openings in April – the highest level on record – meaning that there are about 1.4 job seekers for every open position, compared to nearly seven jobseekers for every job in the depths of the Great Recession.

 

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