In this June 4 photo, job applicants line up at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood during a job fair in Hollywood, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

In this June 4 photo, job applicants line up at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood during a job fair in Hollywood, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

US added a robust 224,000 jobs in June after weak May gain

Consumer spending is solid, home sales are rebounding, but manufacturing and construction are slower.

By Josh Boak / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers sharply stepped up their hiring in June, adding a robust 224,000 jobs, an indication of the economy’s durability after more than a decade of expansion.

The strength of the jobs report the Labor Department issued Friday could complicate a decision for the Federal Reserve late this month on whether to cut interest rates to help support the economy. Most investors anticipate a rate cut.

Last month’s solid job growth followed a tepid gain of 72,000 jobs in May, a result that had raised concern about the economy. The burst of hiring in June may indicate that many employers have shrugged off concerns about weaker global growth, President Donald Trump’s trade wars and the waning benefits from U.S. tax cuts.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in June from 3.6% for the previous two months, reflecting an influx of people seeking jobs who were initially counted as unemployed. Average hourly wages rose 3.1% from a year ago.

The job gains in June were broad. Construction companies added 21,000 workers after having increased their payrolls by only 5,000 in May. Manufacturers hired 17,000, up from just 3,000 in May. Health care and social assistance added 50,500 jobs. Hiring by transportation and warehousing companies increased 23,900.

The government sector was a major source of hiring, adding 33,000 jobs in June. Almost all those gains were at the local level.

The Fed has expressed concern about threats to the economy, especially from Trump’s trade wars, and about inflation remaining persistently below its 2% target level. A rate cut would be the Fed’s first in more than a decade.

The slowdown in hiring during May had suggested that employers had grown more cautious in the face of weaker global growth, political showdowns over trade and, perhaps, some difficulty in finding enough qualified workers at the wages companies are willing to pay.

The pace of the overall economy is widely thought to be slowing sharply from annual growth that neared a healthy 3% last year. Consumer spending has solidified. Home sales are rebounding. But America’s manufacturing sector is slowing along with construction spending. Growth in the services sector, which includes such varied industries as restaurants, finance and recreation, slowed in June.

Overall, employers have been adding jobs faster than new workers are flowing into the economy. That suggests that the unemployment rate will remain near its five-decade low and that the economy will keep growing, even if only modestly.

More in Herald Business Journal

A nuclear research facility is about to open in Everett

TerraPower, an energy firm founded by Bill Gates, will open a 65,000-square-foot lab near Paine Field.

Boeing has a newly discovered software problem on the 737 Max

The issue concerns a program that verifies whether monitors tracking key systems are working properly.

Southwest joins rivals in again delaying Boeing jet’s return

The airline will drop about 330 flights each weekday from its normal 4,000 daily flights.

Starbucks, home of the $4 latte, is moving into poor areas

The company will open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S.

Microsoft: ‘carbon-negative’ by 2030 even for supply chain

The company previously said its data centers would be 60% powered by renewable power by the end of 2019.

Group finds US aircraft approval process safe, despite crashes

The committee differed sharply with legislators who are investigating Boeing and the FAA.

Washington Supreme Court OKs lesser version of carbon cap

The Clean Air Rule had been struck down by a lower court after it was challenged by business groups.

Boeing’s ‘very bad’ internal messages boost crash victim suits

Employees bragged about fooling the FAA about pilots needing only computer training for the new 737 Max.

Plastic bag ban passes Washington Senate again

The bill now heads to the House, where it stalled last year.

Most Read