US adds 224,000 jobs in June, allays fears of slowdown

WASHINGTON • Job creation roared back to life in the United States last month, wiping away fears of a slowdown as employers rushed to hire in the transportation, construction and other areas, the government reported yesterday.

The US jobs engine added 224,000 net new positions last month, smashing forecasts, the Labour Department said in the closely watched report, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 per cent as more workers stepped off the sidelines to enter the labour force.

After an unexpectedly weak May, the vigorous June rebound should quiet talk of a steep drop-off in economic activity.

But it could disappoint stock markets, which had been banking on an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve following a batch of soft economic data.

Even with the latest numbers, job creation slowed to a monthly average of 172,000 in the first half of the year, down from the 223,000 a month in all of 2018.

Wage growth last month was short of expectations, as average hourly earnings rose just 0.2 per cent to US$27.90 (S$37.94). Economists had predicted a 0.3 per cent uptick.

Meanwhile, with more people coming off the sidelines of the labour market, the labour force participation rate rose a tenth of a point to 62.9 per cent, helping reverse some of the sharp recent declines. That helped drive the jobless rate back up to 3.7 per cent, still very low by historical standards.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2019, with the headline 'US adds 224,000 jobs in June, allays fears of slowdown'. Print Edition | Subscribe