Maybe the economy really is picking up a bit of steam.
Hiring accelerated at a better-than-expected pace in June and even wages increased. True, the unemployment rate remained unchanged, but that’s because more folks are looking for work — and it’s still sitting near a four-year low.
Non-farm payrolls expanded by 195,000 last month, well ahead of economists’ projection for 165,000 new jobs, the Department of Labor said Friday.
The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey, didn’t budge from 7.6%, matching expectations. Although hiring accelerated month-to-month, the unemployment rate and number of unemployed workers — 11.8 million — has essentially remained unchanged since February because more people are entering or re-entering the work force.
However, as always, whether folks actually landed jobs greatly depended on the industry they were targeting.
Drilling down into the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June Employment Situation Report showed areas of strength in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, healthcare, and financial activities.
The best industry for job-seekers in June was leisure and hospitality, which added 75,000 jobs. That was led by food services and drinking places, amusements, gambling and recreation. The industry has averaged employment growth of 55,000 so far in 2013, almost twice the monthly average recorded for all of last year.
Professional and business services added 53,000 jobs in June, led by management and technical consulting services, computer systems design and temporary help services. The industry has now gained a total of 624,000 jobs during the past 12 months.
Retail trade was once again an area of strength, adding 37,000 jobs last month. Top places for job-seekers included building material and garden supply stores, as well as motor vehicle and parts dealers.
The healthcare industry hired roughly 20,000 employees, led by ambulatory healthcare services and hospitals. The employment trend among hospitals was particularly encouraging, since they added 5,000 jobs in June after a loss of 8,000 positions the previous month.
Payrolls in the financial activities sector rose by 17,000. The greatest areas of strength were found in credit intermediation, as well as insurance carriers and related activities.
On the other side of the ledger, working for the federal government once again proved to offer a lack of job security, as the sequester continued to take a toll. Federal government employment dropped by 5,000 last month — and has now decreased by 65,000 during the past year.
State government workers also received more pink slips in June, with a total decrease of 15,000 jobs, led by positions in education. On a net basis, federal, state and local governments cut a total of 7,000 jobs last month.
Transportation and warehousing was another bad place to look for employment in June, as the industry lost 5,000 jobs. Transit and ground transportation, and truck transportation were the hardest hit sectors within the industry.
The manufacturing industry shed 6,000 jobs, led by electrical equipment and appliances, the primary metals sector, and wood products.
Other areas of weakness included repair and maintenance, the motion picture and sound recording industries, and the publishing industry, excluding Internet.