US non-farm payroll employment rebounded in June with an increase of 224,000 new jobs, indicating that the labor market still remains strong.
The June jobs report handily beat the consensus estimate of 160,000 and far outpaced a paltry 72,000 (revised down from 75,000) new jobs in May.
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.7% from 3.6%, still one of the lowest rates in nearly 50 years.
The Labor Department noted job gains in professional and business services, health care, transportation and housing.
For June, however, the average hourly earnings number disappointed, rising 0.2% on a monthly basis against expectations for 0.3% growth. Over the past 12 months, wages were up 3.1%, also a notch below consensus estimates of 3.2%.
June report could dampen calls to cut interest rates
The robust June jobs report could dampen calls for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates later this month.
The Fed decided to keep rates on hold in June despite the slowdown in the number of jobs in May. But the central bank has said uncertainties about the economic outlook have increased and it would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.''
The report calmed fears that the labor market was weakening, given the poor showing in May after payolls jumped by 224,000 in April. There were 153,000 new jobs created in March.
The worst month so far is February, when employers added just 20,000 jobs amid harsh winter weather. For the year, January marked the best gains so far, with payrolls swelling by 311,000.
Wall Street doesn't appear happy with the jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently was down 98 points, or 0.36%, to 26,872 in premarket trading.
—(Updates with more BLS data, Fed background, and DJIA numbers)—
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