The Labor Department reported that there were 224,000 jobs added in June, above the consensus estimate of 160,000. The June increase in jobs marked the 105th consecutive month of job growth. The latest six-month average increase is 172,000, less than last year’s 223,000 monthly average. Nevertheless, the pace of job gains is strong and generally stronger than the levels that have usually prompted the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in the past. This suggests that the Fed will not be cutting rates immediately despite other concerns about a slowing economy or trade-related threats to the economy. In recent months, the Fed’s has indicated that it is paying close attention to the risks of an economic slowdown.
Revisions subtracted 11,000 to the prior two months. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised down from 224,000 to 216,000, and the change for May was revised down from 75,000 to 72,000. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. In June, employment in health care rose by 35,000. In the past year, health care has added 403,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate edged up 3.7% in June from 3.6% in May. This is still close to the lowest rate in 50 years. A broader measure of unemployment, which includes those who are working part time but would prefer full-time jobs and those that they have given up searching—the U-6 unemployment rate—rose to 7.2% from 7.1%.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose in June by six cents to $27.90. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%, the same as last month. For 2018, the year over year pace was 3.0% and in 2017 it was 2.6%.
The labor force participation rate, which is a measure of the share of working age people who are employed or looking for work was unchanged at 62.9% in June, very low but up from its cyclical low of 62.3% in 2015. The low rate at least partially reflecting the effects of an aging population.