Job Growth Surges as Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.1 Percent

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 08:36 AM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
U.S. employers accelerated their hiring last month, adding a robust 288,000 jobs and helping drive the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008.

It was the fifth straight monthly job gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom. Over the past 12 months, the economy has added nearly 2.5 million jobs — 208,000 a month, the fastest year-over-year pace since May 2006.

The report from the Labor Department made clear that the U.S. economy is moving steadily closer to full health after having shrunk at the start of the year.

Editor’s Note: Retire 10 Years Earlier With These 4 Stocks

June's job gain followed additions of 217,000 jobs in May and 304,000 in April, figures that were both revised upward. Monthly job gains so far this year have averaged 230,833, up from 194,250 in 2013.

The unemployment rate dipped last month to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck at full force in the fall of 2008 with the bankruptcy of the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers.

The gains were widespread. Factories added 16,000 workers. Retailers brought on 40,200. Financial and insurance firms increased their employee ranks by 17,000.

Job growth has averaged 272,000 over the past three months. In May, the economy surpassed its jobs total in December 2007, when the Great Recession officially began.

The number of long-term unemployed has dropped by 1.2 million over the past year to just under 3.1 million. That is half what it was three years ago.

Still, economists at the liberal Economic Policy Institute estimate that 7 million more jobs would have been needed to keep up with population growth.

The challenge is whether the job gains will pull more Americans back into employment and lift wages that have barely budged. Many people who lost jobs during the recession and were never rehired have stopped looking for work. Just 62.8 percent of adult Americans are working or are looking for a job, compared with 66 percent before the recession.

Average wages, meanwhile, have grown just 2 percent a year during the recovery, below the long-run average annual growth of about 3.5 percent.

Many economists predicted late last year that the steady but tepid recovery would accelerate in 2014. The steady gains over the past four years will finally unleash more hiring and higher wages, they said.

But the economy actually shrank in the first three months of this year at an annual rate of 2.9 percent. That's the sharpest quarterly contraction since the recession. Ferocious winter storms and freezing temperatures caused factories to close and prevented consumers from visiting shopping malls and auto dealers.

Still, the winter failed to freeze hiring and job growth has continued with little to no interruption. This should help to speed economic growth because more jobs lead to more paychecks to spend.

Most economists say annualized growth is tracking 3 percent to 3.5 percent in the current second quarter. Growth over the course of the entire year should be closer to 2 percent for the entire year, roughly similar to the 1.9 percent increase in gross domestic product achieved last year.

Other than the weak growth at the start of the year, several other signs point to the improving health of the economy.

Auto sales rose at the fastest pace in eight years in June. Dealers unloaded vehicles at an annual pace of 16.98 million last month. Factory orders picked up last month as well, according to a report this week by the Institute for Supply Management.

Home sales also strengthened in May, after having sputtered in the middle of last year when higher mortgage rates and rising prices hurt affordability.

Editor’s Note: Retire 10 Years Earlier With These 4 Stocks

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

AP-GfK Poll: 57% Think Economy Is in 'Poor' Condition

Sunday, 28 Dec 2014 01:08 AM

 . . .

Texas, Alaska, Oil States Face Budget Hit

Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 13:39 PM

Falling gas prices may be a driver's dream, but states that depend on oil and gas revenue are worried about the effect t . . .

Holiday Shoppers Splurged on Dining Out, Cut Back on Gadgets

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 14:10 PM

Consumers spent actively on lodging and restaurants during the holiday season, while sales of electronics were flat, ref . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved