Hiring figures for June were again strong, with the economy adding jobs above the already-high three-month average. According to an employment report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment rose by 288,000 over the month, compared to the average of 272,000.
Job growth was seen in a wide range of industries, indicating that the economy may be picking up as a whole. Professional and business services led the gains, adding 67,000 positions last month, beating out the 53,000 yearly average. Retail and food service also showed impressive gains, with 40,000 and 33,000 new workers, respectively.
Healthcare, which has shown strong growth even when many sectors were declining, continued its upward trend by adding 21,000 employees, edging out its 12-month average of 18,000.
Small gains were seen in other critical industries. Oil and gas employers added 1,300 workers over the month, while mining employment grew by 3,700. Engineering professions showed mixed growth over the month. The civil engineering and heavy construction sector lost nearly 1,000, employees, but architectural and engineering services employers gained nearly 7,000.
Strong employment performance in June shattered predictions made in anticipation of the BLS release. According to Reuters, economists forecasted a monthly gain of 212,000 jobs. Even that number would have demonstrated solid growth, marking the first time since the end of the 1990s that employment grew by more than 200,000 for five months in a row.
Earlier this week, ADP released its own report, showing job gains of 281,000, Bloomberg reported. Since ADP releases only private sector figures, while the BLS also includes public employment, the latter report is always expected to be higher. Still, the fact that both reports showed employment numbers above their estimates is seen as a sign that the economy is capable of sustaining growth, beating the expectations of even the most optimistic economists. Data from the BLS showed employment growth 75,000 above predictions, while ADP’s release revealed 76,000 more jobs than anticipated.
The high number of workers starting jobs over the month pushed the unemployment rate down, despite the growth in people looking for positions that they represented. June’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent to 6.1 percent. The rate of unemployed people in the labor market has been dropping since October 2009, when it reached its peak of 10 percent. Last month’s figure of 6.1 percent is the lowest rate seen since September 2008, Reuters reported.