The U.S. economy was more robust than anticipated in June; 224,000 jobs were added to payrolls. This was good news for job seekers, who in May saw only a third of June’s tally. Analysts had expected more hiring freezes because of trade tensions, but the job market seemed unaffected for now.
While unemployment grew to 3.7 percent, it still remains historically low. Also, more people entered the labor force in June — 335,000 in fact, and considering that more people were out looking for jobs, the slight increase in unemployment may not be quite so bad.
However, the numbers may not tell the full story. One senior economist from Glassdoor, Daniel Zhao, cautions that businesses aren’t having the need to hire as fast as in the past.
“The number of job openings is very healthy, pretty close to historic highs, but the rate at which it’s growing is slowing dramatically. When that year-over-year growth rate in job openings turns negative, that will be a major signal that the labor is slowing down,” said Zhao.
The healthcare, professional, and business services sectors saw the most employment growth last month. Manufacturing, which had remained stagnant since February, added 17,000 jobs. This surprised many economists since the sector is typically affected by tariff and world trade woes.
The U.S. technology sector has steadily increased since the beginning of the year and added 13,500 more jobs in June. The numbers reflect a higher growth compared to the same time period of 2018. Transportation and warehousing also grew, adding 24,000 jobs last month.
There were a couple of bad signs. The retail sector offered little growth in June. And, hourly wages were lower than forecast. While earnings outmatched inflation and rose 3.1 percent from the previous year, analysts say wages typically grow faster during the mid-year cycle.