The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reported Friday morning that the seasonally adjusted net gain was 187,000 private-sector jobs in June, with 35,000 added in the public sector, for a total of 222,000. The consensus of experts in Bloomberg’s survey of experts conducted earlier in the week had forecast a gain of 170,000 new jobs. It was the best advance since February.
The bureau also revised its previous reports of job gains for May from 138,000 to 152,000, and for April from 174,000 to 207,000.
June marked the 81st consecutive month of overall job growth. A separate survey placed the headline unemployment rate—which the bureau labels U3—at 4.4 percent, an historically low rate. The last time the unemployment rate was at this level was 10 years ago, in May 2007. The lowest the rate has been in the past quarter-century was 3.8 percent in April 2000.
So, once again, the Trump
has benefited from the economy it inherited from the Obama era, a far cry from the economy inherited from the Bush administration by President Obama when he stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009.
But there has been a drop in gains over 2014-2016. In those three years, the average monthly jobs gain was 250,000, 226,000, and 187,000, respectively. For the first half of this year, the average monthly gain has been 180,000. Nonetheless, what had appeared to be a significant deceleration in hiring in March, April and May turns out mostly to have been statistical noise.
In addition to U3, the bureau tallies unemployment by looking at other cohorts of the populace. U6, the most inclusive measure of “labor underutilitization” covers both unemployment and underemployment. Many economists believe U6 provides a better look at job health than U3, but that is not the assessment everyone makes. U6 rose 0.2 point in June to 8.6 percent. One component of the U6 tally consists of part-time workers who want—but cannot find—full-time positions. More than 5 million Americans who would like full-time work only have been able to get part-time positions.
Between February 2008 and December 2009, the Great Recession caused a net loss of 8.8 million jobs. Since then, the economy has made a net gain of 12.1 million new jobs.
Wages rose, but only marginally. Since last June, they’ve gone up 63 cents an hour, a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase against an annual inflation rate of 1.9 percent. In other words, workers are just treading water by this metric.