US Economy Adds 224000 Jobs in June, Unemployment Holds at 3.7 Percent

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a gain of 165,000 new jobs in June.

U.S. employers added 224,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

A report this week from ADP and Moody's Analytics dampened expectations, citing just 102,000 new jobs for June. That's similar to the pace of hiring in the first three months of the year, but reflects a slowdown from the end of 2018, when monthly job gains averaged 233,000.

Hiring picked up across almost all sectors in June, though retail payrolls contracted for a fifth straight month, shedding another 5,800 jobs on top of the 7,300 lost in May. The industries with the highest job growth last month were in the professional and business services, health care and transportation and warehousing. Similarly, wage growth year-over-year also missed the mark - climbing by 3.1 percent instead of the 3.2 percent projected.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent from 3.6 percent in May.

Trump on July 5 urged the Fed to lower interest rates, saying it would further boost the economy.

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According to CNBC, wages were up 3.1% over the past 12 months, while the average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours. Discussing the figures with the BBC, Luke Bartholomew, who is an investment strategist at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: "Employment growth remains a bright spot amid a fairly mixed bag of U.S. data and yet markets have come to expect a cut now so will fall out of bed if they don't get one". Economists had predicted a 0.3 per cent uptick.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, rose to 7.2% in June from 7.1% in May.

Lack of solid progress in resolving an acrimonious trade war between the United States and China was additionally seen forcing the US central bank's hand, no matter a powerful employment report from the Labor Department on Friday. This helped mask some of the weakness elsewhere on the service side of the economy, including the fifth consecutive monthly decline in retail employment.

"We think the Fed is still on track for a 25 basis points cut given trade uncertainty and the steady downtrend in business sentiment", said Andrew Schneider, a USA economist at BNP Paribas Securities in NY.

"Employment growth is still trending gradually lower but, with the stock market setting new records and trade talks back on (for now at least), the data support our view that Fed officials are more likely to wait until September before loosening policy", Hunter said. That rate, known as the U-6, remains slightly elevated from a record low of 6.8% touched in 2000.