The June Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the US economy added 222,000 new jobs for the month. In addition, estimates for April and May were both revised upward to show 33,000 and 14,000 more jobs respectively compared to last month’s data. Following weak March results, the past three months have shown job growth in line with averages over the past two years. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.4% due to an increased labor force participation rate of 62.8%.
With no sector losing workers, the industry-level jobs breakdown showed a significant jump in government jobs. Mining and logging continues to rebound, and the construction industry saw new jobs added after a slowdown in the spring. Manufacturing and private service-providing both saw gains after a slight decrease in May.
Average hourly wages for June were $26.25; this growth rate represents a 2.5% increase from June 2016, but came in slightly below economist’s expectations.
Temporary employment grew 0.44% in June to reach a record high for the second month in a row. Maxim Kupfer, Research Associate, and Tony Gregoire, CCWP, Director of Research, Americas, at Staffing Industry Analysts speculated that “[an] explanation behind the rising penetration rate could be that occupations with higher than average temporary penetration are performing particularly well, gaining share of overall employment.”
As in previous months, the June jobs report brings with it a set of mixed signals. Businesses continue to add jobs and workers are re-entering the job market, but wage growth remains stubbornly low. Somewhere along the line, there is a disconnect between the wages businesses are offering to fill the 5.7 million available jobs and the wages that Americans demand to accept those jobs. The US economy is now almost a full decade removed from the beginning of the financial crisis, and unemployment indicators suggest we have gained all those jobs back. However, there remains some factor or factors precluding wages from increasing at a pace needed to make up for lost time.