Last month’s nonfarm payroll numbers were released earlier today by the Labor Department, showing that 288,000 jobs were added by US employers in the month of June. Economists had estimated payrolls to rise by 215,000, and the latest numbers reveal a stellar jobs report by many standards.
As a result of some of the heftiest job gains since early 2012, the national unemployment rate fell two percentage points from last month to 6.1%, while experts had projected the rate to be unchanged at 6.3%.
The strong gains signal a continued improvement in the labor market and the underlying strength of the macroeconomic environment. But even with the unemployment rate now at is lowest since September 2008, many analysts remain concerned that the number is still not close to the 4-5% rate seen just before the financial crisis.
The retail sector added close to 40,000 jobs in June, whereas manufacturing jobs rose by 16,000. The leisure and hospitality sector saw 39,000 more jobs, while the construction industry added only 6,000. Average wages in the country also rose 2% from last year to $24.45 per hour.
The Labor Department also updated its number for jobs added in May, which has been revised to 224,000, up from 217,000 announced at the beginning of June. April’s figure was also revised up to 304,000 from 282,000.
The robust increase in job creation last month comes after a slight scare a few day ago, when it was announced that the US GDP shrank almost 2.9% in the first quarter of the year, on an annualized basis.
While many economists blamed the harsh winter for the weakness in the first quarter, they now expect GDP to expand 3.3% in the second quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) opened higher today following the favorable jobs report, breaking historical highs and moving past 17,000 level for the first time ever. The DJIA is up 0.4% to 17,043 in the first hour of trading today.