Economy adds 222K jobs in June, beating expectations

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The U.S. jobs market added 222,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department announced on Friday, well above expectations and good news for the Trump administration, which has sought to keep focus on the economy.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent.

June’s job increase was significantly higher than the 152,000 jobs added in May and above economists’ expectations of 140,000 to 200,000 jobs.

May’s numbers were revised up from the gain of 138,000 initially reported last month.

{mosads}Employment in June increased by 37,000 jobs in the healthcare sector, 23,000 in the social assistance sector, 17,000 in the financial sector and 8,000 in the mining sector. 

Average hourly earnings increased by 4 cents in June, to $26.25. On a year-over-year basis, wages increased by 2.5 percent.

Since the start of the year, the unemployment rate has fallen by 0.4 percent and the number of people who are unemployed has fallen by 658,000, the Labor Department said.

The number of long-term unemployed people stayed roughly flat, at 1.7 million people, in June. Since the start of the year, the number of long-term unemployed people has decreased by 322,000.

The labor force participation rate in June was 62.8 percent, about the same as last month. 

Economists were split on what the jobs report means for the chances of future interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin wrote on his organization’s website that the Labor Department’s report will allow the Fed to increase rates.

“The June report was a modest comfort,” Holtz-Eakin said. “No development was spectacular, but the combination took away fears of a stall. This will permit the Fed to raise rates and begin tapering its portfolio. But it did not diminish the need for structural reforms in tax, regulatory, and entitlement policies.”

But Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, said that another rate increase may not happen this year because wage growth as stalled, which could lead to concerns about low inflation.

“The latest release of the [Federal Open Market Committee] minutes showed divisions among Fed officials over how great a concern that is,” he said. “While we may see the Fed trimming its balance sheet later this year, another rate hike is looking less likely.”

The jobs numbers come after President Trump earlier this week complained on Twitter that the media isn’t spending enough time covering the economic gains that have occurred since he took office in January.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said the June report “shows an economy where American workers still aren’t getting the bigger paychecks they deserve.”  

“Despite all the Trump Administration’s promises, automakers and other industries are shipping American jobs overseas, and the White House offers nothing but tweets,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Hard-working Americans are being left behind by a Republican Congress and Administration that haven’t lifted a finger to create good-paying jobs or raise wages.” 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said that the jobs report showed “positive gains” but that Congress still has “a lot more work to do to make it easier for all Americans to earn higher wages, find good-paying jobs, and get ahead.” 

Brady is one of the leaders of congressional Republicans’ tax-reform efforts.

“Working with President Trump and the Senate, we will deliver bold reforms this year that spur job creation, allow workers to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, and improve the lives of all Americans for generations to come,” he said.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (N.Y.) called on Republicans to work with Democrats on policies that will boost jobs and the economy.

“Despite promises of economic boosts and claims that creating jobs will be easy, the reality is President Trump and congressional Republicans have yet to deliver any successes for the American people over the last six months,” Crowley said. “It is time for the GOP to put aside their partisan pursuits and work with Democrats to pass legislation that will grow the economy and bring greater financial opportunities to American families.”

Jason Furman, who served as chairman of former President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, called June’s job gains “impressive” but the news on wages “disappointing.”

Last updated at 10:53 a.m.

Tags Barack Obama Jason Furman Kevin Brady

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