Job Growth Surges to Nearly 300,000 in June Unemployment Increases Slightly, Signaling Higher Job Search Activity

JOB GROWTH: After anemic growth in May, employment took its biggest leap so far this year, increasing by 287,000 jobs in June. After revisions to the numbers initially reported for the previous two months, average monthly job growth over the most recent three-month period was 147,000. 

TOP INDUSTRIES: In June, employment was up in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities and information (the latter primarily due to the return to work of striking telecom workers). 

UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, from 4.7 percent last month to 4.9 percent in June, primarily due to an increased number of people looking to enter the workforce but not finding employment. 

WAGES: Salaries gained another two cents this past month, reaching an average hourly rate of $25.61, which is slightly lower than last month’s figure, but brings the annual average increase up to 2.6 percent—the highest level of the recovery. 

WORK WEEK: The average workweek was unchanged for the fifth month in a row at 34.4 hours in June. 

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: Temporary staffing jobs had a solid boost of 15,200 in June, the best growth all year. 

SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Just as last month’s low growth numbers were an anomaly, this month’s rebound is also considered by many economists to be a short-term spike rather than a sustainable trend. It does, however, signal moderately paced forward momentum, which led to a bit of a rally on Wall Street. With wages continuing to rise and a strengthening job market, many are optimistic that the economic recovery will continue to hold. The downside for employers planning new hires is the ongoing challenge of finding the candidates needed to spur additional growth. 

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, The New York Times, CNN Money, Staffing Industry Analysts