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U.S. Hiring Bounces Back In June After Dismal May


The Labor Department has released its monthly jobs figures, and there's a glimmer of positive economic news because June hiring experienced a pretty strong rebound. The department says 287,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports that the bigger-than-expected number reversed a pretty dismal showing in the month prior.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: June's report is an indication that all the fretting about the previous months' low hiring figures was much ado about nothing.

RYAN WANG: In fact, what we saw in the spring was not a sharp slowing in the domestic U.S. economy.

NOGUCHI: Ryan Wang is a U.S. economist for HSBC. He says May's job growth, which came in at only 11,000, was probably just an aberration. Wang says summer is typically a big hiring season for leisure and hospitality and retail. And this year was no different.

WANG: A lot of industries that typically add jobs did in fact create a lot of jobs. And so, again, I think that the underlying pace of job gains has probably stayed relatively steady.

NOGUCHI: Even the fact that the unemployment rate rose a bit to 4.9 percent is probably a good thing. More than 400,000 people joined the workforce. Many of them haven't found jobs yet. And that has a temporary effect of pushing the jobless rate up. But analysts take that as a sign the economy is doing well enough to draw job seekers back into the labor force to look for work. In other words, the U.S. economy seems to be holding up relatively well despite slowdowns in Europe and Asia.

WANG: In 2014 and 2015, average monthly job gains were in excess of 200,000 per month. Now, I think that even with today's report, I'm not sure that going forward we will see job growth at that pace.

NOGUCHI: Employment is one of the main issues the Federal Reserve tracks as it considers whether to raise its benchmark interest rates. Still, it's unlikely, Wang says, that the Fed will take a good report and rewrite its projections for the year. Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Science Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. She started covering consumer health in the midst of the pandemic, reporting on everything from vaccination and racial inequities in access to health, to cancer care, obesity and mental health.