Keep On Rolling: Jobs Growth Solid In June, But Can Report Outweigh Trade Battle?

The U.S. jobs machine kept chugging along in June, adding a better-than-expected 213,000 new positions. Still, the market looked like it might struggle for gains Friday after economic sanctions went into effect overnight between the U.S. and China.

Looking at the payrolls data, there appeared to be a lot to like. Many of the new jobs were in segments like manufacturing and construction that often provide long-term careers, not simply jobs. At the same time, wage growth stayed in the sweet spot, growing 2.7% year-over-year. That was the same as a month ago, and could show an economy where workers are getting decent raises but not at levels that might suggest inflationary pressure. Hourly wage growth rose 0.2% on a month-to-month basis, a touch below Wall Street analysts’ expectations for 0.3%.

In addition, the Labor Department said it had underestimated jobs growth in April and May, adding a total of 37,000 new positions to those two months. The only blemish on the report was a slight uptick in the unemployment rate to 4% from 3.8% in May. That could reflect more people getting back into the job hunt as the economy improves, however.

Lots of the new jobs seemed to be in areas with long-term potential, including 50,000 new positions in business and professional services and 36,000 new positions in manufacturing, the Labor Department said. Health care positions rose 25,000 and construction jobs grew by 13,000. A loss of 22,000 retail jobs stood out as one question mark in the report, but that was about the same number of jobs the sector gained in May so maybe things are just evening out.

The 213,000 jobs created in June compared with a revised 244,000 in May and Wall Street analysts’ expectations for about 195,000. Overall, the report showed no signs

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