June Jobs Report: Pretty Damn Good!
Guess emergency unemployment benefits not holding back the economy after all.
The June jobs report is out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it's got some good news, and some more good news: The economy added 850,000 jobs in June, which was way ahead of the Dow Jones estimate of 706,000 new jobs. In addition, the percentage of "discouraged workers" and people working part-time because they can't find full-time work also declined to 9.8 percent, meaning that for the first time since unemployment exploded in March 2020, the "'real' unemployment rate" has dipped below 10 percent. Yay!
Oh, one more good news: With so many employers seeking workers, who have more options for work, average wages are up, too. Or is that bad news, we always forget!
The normal old unemployment rate went up a bit, from 5.6 percent last month to 5.9 percent, but since the Labor Force Participation Rate held steady at 61.6 percent, that slight increase reflects more people looking for work, because economic statistics are weird that way.
President Joe Biden wasn't shy about taking a little victory lap, because the employment news reflects the fact that vaccination rates are increasing and businesses are reopening.
3 million jobs since we took office. Our economic plan is working.
— President Biden (@President Biden) 1625234059.0
Economist Paul Krugman noted on Twitter that Biden could probably even say "it's morning in America|" if he wanted to, because "so far the rate of job growth under Joe Biden is running somewhat faster than during the recovery that reelected Ronald Reagan." We would advise Biden to avoid the line, however justified, given his previous troubles with claiming he was the son of a Welsh coal miner. But Biden might actually have a more solid basis for taking credit for the gains, Krugman added, because vaccines. Also, you just know that if Trump saw growth like this, he'd be friggin' insufferable.
Lots of problems out there, of course, and we're still far below full employment. But Biden is presiding over a boo… https: //t.co/xqxa3ttJra
— Paul Krugman (@Paul Krugman) 1625234703.0
Oh yes, howzabout one more good forecast, as reported by CNBC?
As the data continues to point higher, economists are looking for GDP growth in the second quarter to approach 10%, a stunning continuation of a rebound helped by vaccines that have sharply reduced Covid-19 case rates along with hospitalizations and deaths.
The economy still has some distance to go before it regains the 22.3 million jobs lost at the start of the pandemic, however. So far, we've recovered about 15.6 million jobs, and are still down 7.13 million jobs from the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.
Where are the jobs being created? Still mostly in hospitality, which saw 343,000 new positions, with 194,000 of those in bars and restaurants. Even with lots of restaurants coming back, though, many closed down for good, and the industry is still 2.2 million jobs short of where it was in the Before Times. More stats, CNBC, MORE, GODDAMN IT! WE WANT NUMBERS! NUMBERS FOR SPIDER-MAN!
Other notable gains came in education, which totaled 269,000 across state, local and private hiring, while professional and business services increased by 72,000 and retail added 67,000.
The other services industry added 56,000 jobs, including a gain of 29,000 in personal and laundry services, a subsector that has been seen as a proxy for the resumption of normal business activity.
Hooray for laundry, then!
One area that's still seeing losses is construction, which lost 7,000 jobs, largely because new housing is still beset by those ol' supply-chain disruption blues.
Also too, there's the uptick in wages as workers find themselves in demand again:
Average hourly earnings increased 0.33% for the month and 3.6% year over year, both matching Dow Jones estimates.
Aggregate wage growth had been distorted through much of the pandemic as lower-earnings workers in high-contact industries like hospitality remained sidelined. The June gain puts the jobs market ahead of its previous pace; average hourly earnings rose 3% in February 2020 year over year at a time when lower-earning workers finally had been seeing gains after a generation of stagnant paychecks.
Damn. Well. About. Time. We still need a $15 per hour minimum wage, and could we please do that before that falls behind the actual inflation rate since the last minimum wage increase, which feels like it may have been in the Carter administration but was actually in 2009?
In conclusion, the economy remains weird but is headed in the right direction! Workers this weekend can celebrate America by blowing up tiny parts of it.
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