Employers added a better-than-expected 850,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported Friday in another indication that the U.S. economy is heating up.
Private sector jobs rose by about 15,000 and manufacturing jobs also increased, although the unemployment rate climbed to 5.9%, from 5.5% in May. The labor force participation rate remained steady.
Forecasters had expected job growth of slightly more than 700,000 last month. Stock futures rose on the report.
“Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, retail trade, and other services,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The slight rise in the unemployment rate may reflect an increase in people looking for work as the vaccination push eases the COVID-19 health crisis.
The report was well above the average of the previous three months, and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.
It was the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession.
Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels.
Despite the job market’s steady improvement, unemployment remains well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck, and the economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.
But joblessness has plummeted from the 14.8% rate in April of last year, just after the coronavirus erupted and triggered tens of millions of layoffs.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
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