U.S. labor update: Payrolls up, jobless rate down

U.S. employers added more than 200,000 jobs in June as the unemployment rate retreated from a seven-month high.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 209,000 and the jobless rate edged down a tenth of a point to 3.6 percent, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Payroll gains for the previous two months were revised downward a total of 110,000 to 306,000 for May and 217,000 for April.

Nonfarm payrolls increased an average of 278,000 a month through the first half of 2023. That compared to an average monthly gain of 399,000 in 2022.

The number of people counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work was little changed in June at 6 million. Of those, 1.1 million have been out of work 27 weeks or longer.

Another 4.2 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours were cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate held steady at 62.6 percent for a fourth consecutive month, still below the rate posted before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. in early 2020.

Payroll gains for June were spread out among industry sectors. Employment increased 41,000 in health care, 24,000 in social assistance, 23,000 in construction and 21,000 in each of the business and professional services and leisure and hospitality sectors. Government payrolls rose 60,000.

Payrolls declined 11,000 in retail trades and 7,000 in transportation and warehousing.

The average workweek for employees on nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.4 hours. The average manufacturing workweek remained unchanged at 40.1 hours.

Average hourly earnings rose 12 cents to $33.58. Over the past year, average hourly earnings increased 4.4 percent.