Jobs roar back with gain of 287,000 in June


© Copyright © 2016 New York Times News Service

(Web Summary: After a grim report in May, the economy showed new life, tamping down some concerns about an economic slowdown.)

With the Republican and Democratic national conventions just weeks away, the government reported on Friday that employers added 287,000 workers in June, a vigorous rebound as the presidential nominees get ready to present their economic visions.

The official unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent, from 4.7 percent. And average hourly earnings ticked up again, continuing a pattern set by three months of rising wages.

The welcome report on Friday showed the largest single monthly job gains since October 2015. The three-month average of monthly gains rose to 147,000.

“This report should ease any fears that a persistent slowdown or recession is coming soon in the U.S.,” said Dean Maki, chief economist at Point72 Asset Management. “The service sector is where the real strength is, with 256,000 hires, but the gains were widespread across sectors.”

The unexpectedly grim employment report in May had been disturbing enough to convince every voting member of the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee last month to oppose any increase in its benchmark interest rate, as the official account of the meeting, released this week, revealed.

That jobs report, combined with Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, had fanned wider worries that the U.S. economy was in danger of stalling.

Concerns about the vitality of the recovery – which is in its seventh month – persist, but economists pointed to several encouraging signs, like manufacturing and consumer spending data.

“The slight uptick in unemployment is probably for good reasons, because more people rejoined the labor force,” Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor Economic Research, said after the report was released Friday.

More important, economists said that if the longer-term employment picture were significantly darkening, the stress would show up in other crucial areas. It is not. New claims for unemployment benefits have stayed at rock-bottom levels, consumer spending is strong, the manufacturing and service industry indexes have jumped, and the number of unfilled jobs, 5.8 million in April, is at a record since the survey began.