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Job Growth Improves in June

Employers boosted payrolls by a better-than-expected 132,000 jobs in June, enough to keep the unemployment rate at a relatively low 4.5 percent. It was another sign that the economy is snapping out of a nearly yearlong sluggish spell.

The latest picture of the nation's employment climate was released Friday by the Labor Department, and also showed that workers had solid gains in wages last month.

The tally of 132,000 new jobs bested economists' forecasts for 125,000 new jobs. They did, however, predict that job growth would be sufficient to hold the unemployment rate at 4.5 percent, where it has stood for three straight months.

"The economy seems poised to return to its full potential," said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at LaSalle Bank. "Employers are seeking opportunities to add to their talent pools. The demand for labor is being driven by very solid demand for goods and services."

New hiring in the areas of education, health services, leisure and hospitality and government drove overall job growth last month. Construction companies also expanded employment – even as they coped with fallout from the housing slump. Those employment gains swamped job cuts at factories, retailers and certain professional and business services.

Meanwhile, the economy added more jobs in April and May than the government previously thought. Revised figures released Friday showed that payrolls grew by a strong 190,000 in May, much stronger than the 157,000 reported last month. In April, 122,000 positions were added, which was better than the 80,000 previously reported, which had been the fewest in two and a half years.

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From The Associated Press