U.S. job growth slows with meager payroll gain
U.S. job growth slowed in June with only a meager gain in payrolls and a slightly higher unemployment rate.
According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls grew 18,000, the smallest increase in nine months. The jobless rate edged up a tenth to 9.2 percent, the highest rate in six months.
Initial estimates for job gains in May and April were revised downward 44,000 to a total of 242,000.
While the U.S. economy added an average of 215,000 jobs a month between February and April, job growth has remained nearly flat for the past two months. Economists say 150,000 new jobs are needed each month just to keep pace with a growing labor force.
For June, the private sector added 57,000 net new jobs, while government employment continued to shrink with the loss of another 19,000 jobs.
Payrolls in the leisure and hospitality sector increased 34,000. Professional and technical services added 24,000 jobs, while health care employment continued to trend upward with a gain of 14,000 jobs. Mining payrolls rose 8,000 with most of the gain in support services for that industry. Manufacturing employment rebounded 6,000 after falling in May.
The construction sector reported a loss of another 9,000 jobs.
The average workweek for employees on private nonfarm payrolls slipped a tenth of an hour to 34.3 hours. The average manufacturing workweek fell three-tenths of an hour to 40.3 hours.
The average hourly earnings of employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down a cent to $22.99. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have declined 1.9 percent.