In June, 288,000 jobs were created, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1% from 6.3% in May. Both figures outpaced economists’ expectations for 215,000 new jobs and an unchanged unemployment rate of 6.3%.
So far, there has been an average of 231,000 jobs added to the economy every month this year, above 2013’s average pace of 194,000 new jobs per month.
The pickup in job creation has stood in contrast to a big drop in overall economic growth in the beginning of the year. The economy’s growth rate swung from 2.6% annualized growth in the fourth quarter of 2013 to shrinking 2.9% annualized in the first three months of this year, the biggest decline not in or right before a recession since the data has been recorded.
The employment data from June suggests that the first quarter was an aberration from an overall trend of economic growth and job creation picking up, although still at sluggish levels compared to past economic expansions. The number of new jobs created in April was revised from 282,000 to 304,000, making it the strongest single month of job creation since the economic recovery began in June 2009.
The labor force participation rate, which measures the portion of the adult population looking for work or who are employed, stayed steady at 62.8% for the third straight month. It was around 66% before the crisis and has been slowly declining since then, showing that even as the economy has started to grow, a chunk of the population has been so discouraged by the dismal job market that the people in that chunk have stopped even looking for work.
But the number of long-term unemployed, people looking for work for 27 weeks or more, decreased by 293,000 to 3.1 million and over the last year has dropped 1.2 million.