June hiring surge of 287,000 suggests rebounding US economy

WASHINGTON, 8th July 2016 (WAM) — Employers in the United States shook off two months of weak hiring by adding 287,000 jobs in June, a robust pace that suggests a resilient U.S. economy recovering from a slump early in the year.

The broadly positive jobs report suggests that the U.S. economy was improving before the United Kingdom startled the world late last month by voting to leave the European Union. The “Brexit” vote roiled financial markets and raised fears that the global economy would slump and possibly even succumb to a recession.

The June hiring spurt marked a sharp improvement from May’s dismal showing, when only 11,000 jobs were added, and April’s modest gain of 144,000. June’s increase was the largest since October 2015.

The unemployment rate rose from 4.7 percent to a still-low 4.9 percent, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report. But the uptick occurred mainly for an encouraging reason: More Americans began seeking jobs “a sign of growing confidence in their prospects” though most didn’t immediately find work.

Investors were pleased with the results. The Dow Jones jumped 165 points, about 0.9 percent, in morning trading, according to the AP.

Friday’s report provided broad evidence of an improving job market. The number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs fell sharply, reversing an increase in May.

And hiring was widespread across both higher and lower-paying sectors. Manufacturers added 14,000 jobs, the most since January. Professional and business services, a category that includes accountants, engineers and architects as well as temporary workers, gained 38,000. Retailers added nearly 30,000 workers, health care over 58,000.

Even with June’s big gain, job growth so far for 2016 trails last year’s pace. Employers added an average of 172,000 jobs a month in the first six months of this year. That’s generally enough to lower the unemployment rate, but it’s below last year’s average of 230,000.