The economy added 288,000 jobs in June, up from 217,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was 6.1%, a dip from last month’s 6.3%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and the best five-month stretch of job growth since the early 1990s.
Over the past year, the number of jobless workers has decreased by 2.3 million and the unemployment rate has fallen from 7.5%.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 293,000 to 3.1 million. Long-term joblessness continues to plague the economy. House Republicans allowed emergency help for jobless workers to expire at the end of last year and continue to refuse to allow a vote on the extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits program that was approved by a bipartisan Senate majority. So far, millions of jobless workers have lost benefits and that number continues to rise. Said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
It is unconscionable that Republicans have refused to renew this essential support for hardworking Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business services (67,000), retail trade (40,000), food services and drinking places (33,000), and health care (21,000). Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs, and transportation and warehousing employment added 17,000 jobs.
Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction and information.
While the improved jobs numbers over the past several months show the economy is beginning to recover, job growth is still not robust enough to provide jobs for the millions who remain out of work or to boost wages for most Americans.
Government workers also saw little change in job growth.
AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs wrote yesterday there is a cloud in this silver lining:
We remain lagging in public-sector employment. Most importantly, local education employment is still below its June 2009 level. Though it fluctuates slightly month to month, it remains near where it was in 2012, about 320,000 below its peak. While other local government jobs appear to have recovered, local public education has not. State government employment also remains lower than its January 2009 high, languishing about 140,000 below its peak....This is the first post-World War II expansion in which public-sector employment has not recovered quickly. And it is the first expansion in which the public sector has been such a drag on the growth of gross domestic product (the measure of all goods and services produced in the United States).
Unemployment rates for the major worker groups: adult men, 5.7%; adult women, 5.3%; whites, 5.3%; blacks, 10.7%; and Latinos, 7.8%.