US adds 213K jobs in June; unemployment up to 4%

The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June, as unemployment rose to 4 percent

The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported Friday, as the unemployment rate rose to 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the revisions for the two previous months - April and May - looked encouraging, with a combined gain of 37,000 jobs as compared to previous BLS reports.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent from an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in June as more people entered the labor force in a sign of confidence in the jobs market.

However, the annual increase in average hourly earnings was unchanged at 2.7%.

"Three of the five states that ranked the worst in this study (Missouri, Alaska, and Kansas) have all experienced a decrease in employment growth over the a year ago", a GOBankingRates.com representative told Moneyish. A widespread availability of jobs and the prospect of higher wages at other employers made it harder to retain workers, she said. For the construction sector on its own, the average hourly and weekly gains, as recorded in B-3, were a bit faster, at +2.9% and +3.5% respectively. "This combined with labor force unemployment rates being among the lowest in the US results in western states ranking so well".

Economists forecast that employers added 195,000 payrolls last month, according to the median estimate compiled by Bloomberg.

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"This report was more than enough to seal the deal on a July rate hike from the Bank of Canada", said Frances Donald, a senior economist with Manulife Asset Management.

"Clearly, firms are looking for workers and have become somewhat desperate, but if they cannot find them, then job growth could be lower than the consensus", said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.

Black unemployment rose to 6.5 percent from a record low of 5.9 percent; the Hispanic rate fell to a record low of 4.6 percent. And as is the case in most months, professional and business services as well as education and health services were the sectors that saw the largest increase in employment, with 50,000 and 54,000 jobs added in these sectors respectively. It is expected to hover around its target for a while, in part because of labor market tightness. The rise in the unemployment rate was also "healthy" because it reflected an uptick in the labor participation rate (to 62.9 percent from 62.7 percent), raising hopes that the labor force can overcome some of its structural headwinds.

Whether the unemployment rate jumped by 0.2 of a percentage point or 0.3, both were good signs for the economy. Huh? White unemployment remained stable at 3.5 percent.

These new entrants to the labor market have good reason to think their prospects of finding a job are good: Job growth is really strong. More than 600,000 workers joined the economy last month, bringing the total labor force participation rate to 62.9 percent.

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