Jobs report boosts economy
A surprisingly robust job market is energizing the 5-year-old U.S. recovery and driving the economy closer to full health.
Employers added 288,000 jobs in June and helped cut the unemployment rate to 6.1 per cent, the lowest since 2008. It was the fifth straight gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom.
The stock market signalled its approval. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 92 points to top 17,000 for the first time.
The breadth and consistency of the job growth are striking in part because of how poorly the year began. The economy shrank at a steep 2.9 per cent annual rate in the January-March quarter as a harsh winter contributed to the sharpest contraction since the depths of the recession.
Yet employers have shrugged off that setback. They've kept hiring.
The unemployment rate dipped from 6.3 per cent in May to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck with full force in the fall of 2008, when the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.
"This has now become a textbook jobs expansion," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at the consultancy CohnReznick. "It is both broad and accelerating."
At least one nagging doubt is dampening the enthusiasm: Can the stepped-up hiring lead to higher incomes? Wages have yet to outpace inflation for most workers. Eventually, analysts say, the falling unemployment rate should cause pay to rise more sharply. But no one knows precisely when.
The jobs report did make clear that, five years after the recession officially ended, the U.S. economy is showing more vitality even as major economies in Europe and Asia continue to struggle.
Last month's solid hiring followed gains of 217,000 jobs in May and 304,000 in April, figures that were revised upward by a combined 29,000.
Over the past 12 months, the economy has added nearly 2.5 million jobs — an average of 208,000 a month, the fastest year-over-year pace since 2006.
Economists say the steady U.S. hiring should fuel more purchases of goods from Asia and Europe and strengthen those economies at least slightly. Much of Europe is suffering from high unemployment. And China is trying to moderate its economy's growth without slowing it too much.
"If we have some momentum going into the second half of the year, it helps the world economy because we're big consumers," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services.
The U.S. job gains in June were widespread. Factories added 16,000 workers, retailers 40,200. Financial and insurance firms increased their payrolls by 17,000. Restaurants and bars employed 32,800 more people. Only construction, which gained a mere 6,000, reflected the slow recovery of previous years.
Comments on this story are pre-moderated. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.
Read more Business News
- Snowbirds hit townKelowna - 10:25 am
- Pilot out of hospitalVernon / N. Okanagan - 1:20 pm
- Wildfire doused quicklyCentral Okanagan - 4:28 pm
- Parachutist hits houseVernon / N. Okanagan
|QHR Technologies Inc||1.20||+0.05|
|Anavex Life Sciences||0.2675||+0.0025|
|Copper Mountain Mining||2.86||-0.11|
|Sunrise Resources Ltd||0.035||+0.015|
|Mission Ready Services||0.155||-0.035|
Photo: Thinkstock.comWays to reduce your Debt:Make a budget and get budget counselingA basic first step for debt reduction is to prepare a budget and plan your spending. Once you have a budget, you mu...
The Big Picture Geopolitical tensions rattle markets The spectre of rising geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Gaza cast a shadow over an otherwise positive week in the markets. News that a passenger...
Photo: ContributedI have the pleasure of witnessing people delegate tasks quite often. Sometimes with tremendous success and sometimes with disastrous consequences. I have chaired a lot of committees...