Economy Watch: Economy Creates 288K Jobs

The U.S. economy created a robust net of 288,000 jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. economy created a robust net of 288,000 jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday, publishing the numbers a day early, ahead of the Independence Day holiday. Employment increases were fairly broad-based, with job gains led by professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and health care.

The official unemployment rate—which is compiled using a separate BLS survey than the jobs numbers—came in at 6.1 percent in June, down from 6.3 from May, and 7.5 percent a year ago. The alternate measurement known as U-6, which includes the traditional unemployed, but also discouraged works and part-timers who want to be full-time, came in at 12.1 percent in June, down from 12.2 percent in May and 14.2 percent a year ago.

On Wednesday, Automated Data Processed estimated that private-sector job creation was 281,000 in June, an estimate that was unusually close to the government’s. Small and medium-sized businesses, in the company’s estimation, did most of the hiring, added a net of 117,000 and 115,000 workers each (small is fewer than 50 employees, while medium is 50 to 500 workers).

Yellen talks about interest rates

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted in a speech at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that easy money isn’t always a good thing: “I am also mindful of the potential for low interest rates to heighten the incentives of financial market participants to reach for yield and take on risk,” she said. “Accordingly, there may be times when an adjustment in monetary policy may be appropriate to ameliorate emerging risks to financial stability.

“[M]onetary policy has powerful effects on risk taking,” she continued. “Indeed, the accommodative policy stance of recent years has supported the recovery, in part, by providing increased incentives for households and businesses to take on the risk of potentially productive investments. But such risk-taking can go too far, thereby contributing to fragility in the financial system.”

None of this means that the Fed is going to raise interest rates anytime soon, though it can be argued that Yellen is laying the groundwork for an eventual increase. In any case, she defended the central bank’s low interest rates, noting that “taking all of these factors into consideration, I do not presently see a need for monetary policy to deviate from a primary focus on attaining price stability and maximum employment, in order to address financial stability concerns.”

Ahead of the jobs numbers, Wall Street experienced a lot of ups and downs on Wednesday, but ended more-or-less where it started. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 20.17 points (still shy of 17,000), or 0.12 percent, and the S&P 500 gained 0.07 percent. The Nasdaq edged down a slight 0.02 percent.