U.S. Economy Adds 372,000 Jobs in June
In the face of recession fears, the United States jobs market continued to add jobs last month. According to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the economy gained 372,000 jobs in June. As noted by CNN Business, that well outpaces the 272,700 jobs the economists surveyed had anticipated. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6%.
With the latest jobs figures, the nation moves even closer toward reaching the peak numbers seen in February 2020, just before the pandemic shutdowns began. Currently, the country is 524,000 jobs away from that former high.
These strong jobs numbers come as the U.S. is facing a number of economic issues. Top among them, inflation has reached a 40-year high, with the Consumer Price Index marking an 8.6% year-over-year increase in May. At the same time, this BLS report shows wages increased just 5.1% in the past year. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by 0.75 percentage points last month in a bid to curb such inflation. A subsequent increase is also expected, although the side of such a rate hike is currently unknown.
Addressing these fears while commenting on the jobs report, Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said, “The job market is still plowing forward even in the face of increasing headwinds and recession fears. Even if the economy is slowing, the labor market remains a point of strength for the recovery. Strong employer demand is supporting solid but slowing job gains.”
Elsewhere, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick explained, “The employment report does nothing to dissuade Federal Reserve officials from sticking to their interest rate raising plans, looking to send inflation down, and closer to their 2% target.” Hamrick went on to note, “The next key reading for the Fed is the Consumer Price Index due in the days ahead.”
On top of the aforementioned economic concerns, the BLS report also notes the continued impact that the pandemic is having on workers. For one, 610,000 individuals reported that they were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, marking an increase of 155,000 from the month prior. Meanwhile, it seems that more employees are returning to the office as 7.1% teleworked due to the pandemic in June compared to 7.4% in May. Additionally, 2.1 million people said that they were unable to work in June due to pandemic-related business closures or downsizing.
Once again, this latest jobs report highlights the complicated economic situation America currently finds itself in. Overall, however, the addition of jobs is a good thing — and it’s encouraging to see the country nearing a full jobs recovery milestone. On the other hand, if a recession really is on the horizon, subsequent reports could show another turnaround. As always, stay tuned.