The U.S. economy added a robust 222,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported today, but the slow pace of wage gains continued to disappoint analysts.
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.4 percent.
The government said job gains occurred in health care, social assistance, financial activities, and mining. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents in June to $26.25.
“We’re seeing pretty steady, solid hiring,” Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg. “We’re just not seeing much acceleration in wages. The unemployment rate picked up for the right reasons. The participation rate ticked up as job seekers came back into the market. It could reflect increased confidence in the labor market.”
The government said job gains during the past three months have averaged 194,000, and it revised the April and May job totals upward by a total of 47,000. The April figure rose by 33,000 to 207,000 and the May total climbed by 14,000 to 152,000.
The government said the number of people who have jobless for 27 weeks or more was unchanged at 1.7 million in June and accounted for 24.3 percent of the unemployed.
The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 5.3 million, changed little in June. Those people, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. A total of 1.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force in June, a figure that was down by 197,000 from a year earlier. The data are not seasonally adjusted. Those people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime during the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work during the four weeks that preceded the survey.