The new monthly jobs numbers are in, and they are stronger than expected. "Robust" is the word used by the AP. Highlights:
- Jobs: Employers added 850,000 jobs in June, up from 583,000 in May. Most analysts had expected a gain of about 700,000 jobs, reports CNBC. The biggest gains were in the hospitality area—bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Rate: The unemployment rate actually ticked up from 5.8% to 5.9% though it had been expected to decline. For context, the rate was 3.5% in February 2020 just before the pandemic kicked into force, and it reached 14.8% in April of that year, notes the Wall Street Journal.
- Takeaway: The stats should quiet "simmering fears, at least temporarily, of more lasting harm from labor and supply shortages," per the Washington Post. "The news is likely to be seen as a good sign for the economy more than one year into the pandemic, after numerous wrinkles have emerged to complicate a labor recovery many hoped would be faster at this level of vaccinations."
- Shortage: A big theme in coverage is that employers continue to struggle to find enough people to fill openings. But "I think June is the last month where the numbers are going to be severely constrained by the [labor] supply issue," economist Stephen Stanley of Amherst Pierpoint tells CNBC. "The supply issues won’t go away but it will start to dissipate." For one thing, children returning to school in September might free up more people to rejoin the workforce.
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