Hiring across the United States rebounded last month after a weak May. The Labor Department reported that employers added 224,000 jobs in June. The gain was stronger than economists had predicted. Economists had expected a gain of about 170,000 jobs for June. Employers have now added jobs for 105 consecutive months.
Unemployment is near a five-decade low. The unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, up from 3.6 percent in May. The labor force grew by 335,000 people, an indication that the strong job market is drawing more workers to look for employment. Wage growth is solid, with average earnings rising 6 cents an hour from May, and up 3.1 percent over the past year.
The manufacturing sector, a major driver of growth in the last two years, has been cooling. The industry’s struggles continued in June, although the decline wasn’t as severe as some economists had predicted. Manufacturers added 17,000 jobs in June, the most since January.
In the much larger service sector, retailers continued to eliminate jobs, but those cuts were more than offset by increased hiring by warehouses and trucking companies. Other consumer-driven industries also added jobs. The results suggest that the economy is stronger than what some analysts had feared.
Workers are benefiting from what is now, unofficially, the longest economic expansion on record, but there have been fears that the expansion could be running out of steam. Employers have added an average of 171,000 jobs per month over the past three months, down from 223,000 per month for all of 2018. June marked the 10th anniversary of the official end of the Great Recession. However, it has taken this long for the gains to extend to black and Hispanic workers, the less-educated, and those facing discrimination or other barriers to employment.