Job growth remains steady, but jobless rate ticks higher

  • Job growth remains steady, but jobless rate ticks higher

Job growth remains steady, but jobless rate ticks higher

The national unemployment rate among Hispanic and Latino-Americans plummeted to the lowest level on record in June, according to new statistics released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics this week.

Despite strong hiring, wage growth remained sluggish, and was effectively erased by inflation: average hourly earnings rose just 0.2 per cent to US$26.98, putting wages up 2.7 per cent over the same month a year ago, the same as the 2.7 per cent rise in the Consumer Price Index.

Average hourly earnings are expected to have increased by 0.3% month-on-month and 2.8% compared to June 2017.

But in fact more people entering the workforce is a sign of optimism that jobs are available in an economy now entering its 10th year of expansion.

As IJR previously reported, the economy saw many milestones during Trump's presidency.

In June, the U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 4% from 3.8% the month before, coming off an 18-year low.

But average, hourly earnings increased in both May and June, according to BLS numbers.

New entrants, including blue-collar workers and teenagers, shouldn't have much trouble finding a job.

Nonetheless, the USA jobs market is incredibly hot right now with yesterday's NFIB jobs survey suggesting that in the small business sector, the proportion of firms looking to hire workers has been higher on only three occasions in the past 45 years. Jobs data from June shows that employers added 213,000 jobs in June.

The monthly Labor Department report painted a less sanguine picture for workers' paychecks.

"There were some people who weren't participating in the labor force who are now being encouraged to return, so I'm not concerned about the uptick in unemployment", she said. Professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, construction, and mining all added jobs in June.

"I think that we're seeing the front loading of the fiscal-stimulus impact, which we expected to boost growth this year", Julia Coronado, president of MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC in NY, said on Bloomberg Television.

While improving prospects for employment and wages are helping attract people from the sidelines of the job market, the retirements of older workers are among factors that have been exerting downward pressure on participation. President Donald Trump's tax cuts have provided a dose of stimulus this year, but the benefits have been tilted significantly toward wealthy individuals and corporations.

Minutes of the Fed's June 12-13 policy meeting published on Thursday were upbeat on the labor market.

Construction added 13,000 jobs, while retail lost 22,000 - nearly all the jobs it had gained the month before.

Update: Here's another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.