Prior to the release of the latest jobs report from the Labor Department, economists polled by Reuters were predicting the addition of 160,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls. Instead, the Employment Situation Summary showed 224,000 jobs added in June. Unemployment ticked up slightly to 3.7 percent.
“The June gain was stronger than economists had predicted, suggesting that trade tensions and cooling global growth have done little to sap the job market’s fundamental strength,” writes Ben Casselman at The New York Times. “Unemployment is near a five-decade low, wage growth is solid and employers have added jobs for 105 consecutive months, easily a record.”
Where Jobs Are Growing
Several industries added jobs in June, including:
- Professional and business services (51,000 jobs)
- Health care (35,000 jobs)
- Transportation and warehousing (24,000 jobs)
- Construction (+21,000 jobs)
- Manufacturing (+17,000 jobs)
Other industries showed little change for the month, including mining, retail trade, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality and government.
Wages Are Growing, But Are Workers Feeling the Increase?
Average hourly earnings for private-sector employees increased by 6 cents to $27.90, after growing 9 cents in May. That brings the 12-month average growth to 3.1 percent. However, The PayScale Index shows that real wages — the buying power of workers’ pay with inflation taken into account — have declined 9 percent since 2006.
Valerie Wilson, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, writes:
As you can see in EPI’s nominal wage tracker, there has been a distinct leveling off in wage growth in recent months. While June’s 3.1 percent growth rate is higher than the slow rate we saw earlier in the recovery, it is still below the rate we’d expect to see in a strong economy. To be at genuine full employment, wage growth would have to be at least 3.5 percent, and for a consistent period of time to allow labor’s share of corporate sector income to recover.
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