RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The government usually releases its employment report on the first Friday of the month. But like many American workers, those at the Labor Department will be enjoying the July 4 holiday tomorrow. So weâll get the new job numbers later this morning. NPRâs Jim Zarroli has a preview of what to expect.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The U.S. economy slowed a lot over the winter, but as the weather has improved, so has the job market. Yesterday the payroll processing company ADP said private employers added about 237,000 jobs in June, the biggest gain since December. Bernard Baumohl of the Economic Outlook Group is expecting the jobs report put out by the Labor Department this morning to look even better. Heâs expecting a gain of about 260,000 jobs among all employers.
BERNARD BAUMOHL: The economy looks like it is moving forward with stronger momentum, and as a result, I do expect not only payrolls to increase, but weâre also looking at average hourly earnings and average weekly earnings to climb as well.
ZARROLI: Baumohl says the current recovery in the U.S. economy has now been going on for seven years. Most recoveries only last about five. In May, employers added about 280,000 jobs to their payrolls and the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. But in many parts of the country such as the upper Mid-West, the jobless rate is a lot lower. Stuart Hoffman, chief economist of PNC Financial Services, says employers are starting to feel a squeeze.
STUART HOFFMAN: More and more, employers are saying theyâre having trouble finding good, qualified employees or, once they find them, holding onto them before they jump to some other job.
ZARROLI: Hiring has been especially strong in construction, retail and business services. Hoffman says this is having an effect on wages. The evidence is anecdotal so far, but he believes the increase is bound to show up in Labor Department data. And he says the Federal Reserve will take notice of that, and it could finally begin raising interest rates soon.
HOFFMAN: Thatâs not going to come next month, no matter how strong this June jobs report is. But we think itâs becoming more and more likely that the Fed will make that initial move in September.
ZARROLI: One potential headwind remains the strong dollar. Itâs cut into exports and big manufacturers that sell a lot of products abroad are starting to feel the impact. But small and medium-sized businesses continue to add workers at a pretty healthy pace, and this morningâs report should reflect that. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.
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