In this Tuesday, June 4, 2019 photo, job applicants
line up at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood during a job fair in Hollywood, Fla.
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 government 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 have anticipated a rate cut in July and perhaps one or two
additional Fed cuts later in the year. That scenario may be less
Stocks sold off Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down
roughly 150 points in late-morning trading, reflecting a view that
the Fed might engage in fewer rate hikes. The yield on the 10-year
U.S. Treasury note climbed to 2.06% from just under 2%.
June's solid job growth followed a tepid gain of 72,000 jobs in May,
a result that had fueled concerns about the economy's health. But
with June's pace of hiring, employers have now added, on average, a
solid 171,000 jobs for the past three months. Last month's burst of
hiring suggests that many employers have shrugged off concerns about
weaker growth, President Donald Trump's trade wars and the waning
benefits from U.S. tax cuts.
"Although there are drags on the economy in 2019, the expansion
should continue through this year," said Gus Faucher, chief
economist at PNC Financial Services. "The doom and gloom was
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.
Trump responded to Friday's jobs report by tweeting, "JOBS, JOBS,
JOBS!" But the strong hiring gains have lessened the case, at least
for now, for the Fed to slash rates as Trump has repeatedly and
aggressively pressed the central bank to do.
"If we had a Fed that would lower interest rates, we'd be like a
rocket ship," the president asserted to reporters in an appearance
Friday. "But we're paying a lot of interest, and it's unnecessary.
But we don't have a Fed that knows what they're doing."
Last year, Fed officials raised rates four times, in part to stave
off the risk of high inflation and in part to try to ensure that
they would have room to cut rates if the economy stumbled.
On Friday, the Fed reiterated that it would act as necessary sustain
the economic expansion, while noting that most Fed officials have
lowered their expectations for the course of rates. The Fed's
statement came in its semiannual report on monetary policy.
In Friday's jobs report for June, the hiring gains 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
The government sector was a major source of hiring, adding 33,000
jobs in June. Nearly all those gains were at the local level.
For Todd Leff, CEO of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, the
resilience of the U.S. job market has provided both an opportunity
and a challenge. With more Americans earning steady paychecks,
demand for massages and facials has increased, and the company plans
to add 60 locations this year and roughly 1,800 jobs. But the low
unemployment rate has also made it hard to find and retain workers.
"We could hire 1,000 more employees today — if they were available,"
said Leff, whose company has about 430 locations and is based in
Investors have been turning their attention to the Fed, which has
expressed concern about threats to the economy, especially the
uncertainties from Trump's trade wars, and about inflation remaining
persistently below its 2% target level. A Fed rate cut, whenever it
happens, would be its first in more than a decade.
Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist for the consultancy MFR, said
the likelihood of a Fed rate cut late this month is now slightly
lower, though he still estimates that the federal funds rate — what
banks charge each other — will be sharply lower by the end of next
Ryan Wang, U.S. economist at HSBC Bank, suggested that the solid
jobs report might create a communications challenge for Fed Chairman
Jerome Powell when he testifies Wednesday and Thursday to
The financial markets still foresee a rate cut of 25 points this
month, Wang said, adding, "It will be important to see if Chair
Powell lays out on a strong case for near-term monetary easing in
his testimony next week."
The sluggish pace of hiring in May had signaled that employers might
have grown more cautious because of global economic weakness and,
perhaps, some difficulty in finding enough qualified workers at the
wages that companies are willing to pay.
The pace of the overall economy is widely thought to be slowing from
annual growth that neared a healthy 3% last year. Consumer spending
has solidified. Home sales are rebounding. But America's
manufacturing sector is weakening along with construction spending.
Growth in the services sector, which includes such varied industries
as restaurants, finance and recreation, slowed in June.
Overall, though, 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.
Unemployment rate hits record low for
WASHINGTON — The unemployment
rate for Asian Americans fell to 2.1% in June,
its lowest level on records dating to 2003. The
result reflects Asian Americans coming off the
sidelines to look for work and finding it.
Young adults also fared well last
month. The jobless rate for workers ages 20 to
24 declined to 6.3% from 7% in May. That's the
lowest such level since 1969.
At the same time, the
unemployment rate for Americans with just a high
school diploma climbed to 3.9% in June — the
highest level since October — from 3.5% in May.
The Labor Department said
Friday that all told, employers added 224,000
jobs in June. The overall unemployment rate
ticked up to 3.7%.
The data for demographic
groups came from a survey of households that is
part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs
|Unemployment rate by group:
|(Numbers in percentages)
|Hispanic or Latino ethnicity*
|20-24 years old
|25-54 years old
|55 and over
|Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*
|No high school diploma
|High school graduate
|Duration of Unemployment:
|Average length (weeks)
|Jobless 6 months or more (pct.)
|*Includes all races