Job growth accelerated at a much faster pace than expected in June, indicating that the main pillar of the U.S. economy remains strong despite pockets of weakness.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 372,000 in the month, better than the 250,000 Dow Jones estimate and continuing what has been a strong year for job growth, according to data Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate was 3.6%, unchanged from May and in line with estimates. An alternative measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons fell sharply, dropping to 6.7% from 7.1%.
June’s gains marked a slight deceleration from the downwardly revised 384,000 in May. April’s count was revised down to 368,000.
Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% for the month and were up 5.1% from a year ago, the latter number slightly higher than the 5% Dow Jones estimate and indicative that wage pressures remain strong as inflation accelerates.
By sector, education and health services led job creation, with 96,000 hires, while professional and business services added 74,000 positions. Other contributors included leisure and hospitality (67,000), health care (57,000), and transportation and warehousing (36,000).
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