WASHINGTON — U.S. employment growth jumped in June and the jobless rate closed in on a six-year low, decisive evidence the economy was moving forward at a brisk clip after a surprisingly big slump at the start of the year.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 288,000 jobs, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for April and May were revised to show a total of 29,000 more jobs created than previously reported.
“It’s an extremely bullish report. It’s a report that really checks off all the positive boxes. I don’t think you could have asked for a stronger read,” said Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.
European Central Bank keeps record low rates on hold as it waits for stimulus to bite
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a gain of 212,000 jobs in June. It was the first time since the technology boom in the late 1990s that employment has grown above a 200,000-jobs pace for five straight months.
U.S. stock index futures were trading slightly higher in volatile trading after briefly dipping following the data, while prices for U.S. Treasuries fell. The U.S. dollar gained against a number of major currencies.
The closely watched employment report added to robust auto sales in June and data showing a steady manufacturing expansion in suggesting a plunge in economic output in the first quarter was a weather-driven anomaly.
Gross domestic product contracted at a 2.9% annual rate in the January-March period, causing a sharp downgrading of growth estimates for this year. Growth in the second half of the year is forecast around a 3.5% pace.
Average hourly earnings, which are being closely watched for signs of wage pressures that could signal dwindling slack in the labor market, increased by 6 cents in June. They were up 2.0% from a year-ago.
U.S. job gains soar past expectations; jobless rate nears 6-year low | Financial Post (external - login to view)