US jobs report beats big, unemployment rate climbs

The US economy gained 222,000 jobs in June, many more than expected, according to a report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics on Friday.

Economists had forecast that nonfarm payrolls increased by 178,000, according to Bloomberg.

The excess number of people employed in July over those that were laid off or fired was revised upwards 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 from a 16-year low of 4.3% to 4.4%. It was for good reason, as more people found work or decided to job-hunt. The labour-force participation rate increased to 62.8% from 62.7%.

Wage growth was softer than expected and unchanged from May. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2% month-on-month, and 2.5% year-on-year.

Economists expect wages to be rising at an even faster pace because the unemployment rate is near a post-crisis low, and so there should be more competition for skilled workers. However, 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 ecommerce. Retail trade gained 8,100 jobs overall, although 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.

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