The June jobs report smashed expectations, helping to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the 17,000 mark early Thursday, as both the job creation figures and unemployment data beat Wall Street forecasts by a wide margin.
Payrolls expanded by 288,000 last month, the Department of Labor said Friday in the June jobs report. Economists, on average, were looking for job growth of 215,000.
The latest jobs report showed that hiring has now topped 200,000 a month for five straight months, a feat the economy hasn’t managed to pull off since 1999.
The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey, fell to 6.1% from 6.3%, which is nearly a six-year low. That particular jobs report figure beat expectations for the rate to remain unchanged.
More importantly, the decline in the unemployment rate was driven by the right reasons, as an increasing number of people who entered the labor force found work. (Prior decreases in the unemployment rate were due mainly to job seekers giving up the search.)
The June jobs report helps confirm recent signs that the economy is finally accelerating after years of extremely sluggish, post-recession growth. Hiring was widespread, extending to essentially every major industry. In other positive details, average hourly wages rose to exceed expectations, while the average workweek was unchanged, which also matched forecasts.
In other good news, payrolls from the April jobs report were revised up to 304,000 from 282,000, marking the biggest increase in job growth in two-and-a-half years. That pushed average monthly job creation for 2014 up to 231,000 — a marked improvement over last year’s average of 194,000 new jobs a month.
However, as always, whether folks actually landed jobs greatly depended on the industry they were targeting. Here’s a look into the June jobs report:
June Jobs Report: Industry Highlights
Drilling down into the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June Employment Situation Report showed areas of strength in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and healthcare.
Professional and business services led the charge in the jobs report, as payrolls expanded by 67,000. Top places for new employment included management and technical consulting services, architectural and engineering services, and computer systems design and related services. The industry has added an average of 53,000 new jobs a month over the prior 12 months, according to the jobs report.
Retailers hired 40,200 new workers in June, led by motor vehicle and parts dealers, building material and garden supply stores, and electronics and appliance stores. Over the last year, retail trade employment has grown by an average of 26,000 a month.
Bars and restaurants continued to add workers, as payrolls rose by nearly 33,000 in June. Indeed, employment in food services and drinking places has now increased by 314,000 over the last year, the jobs report said.
The healthcare industry also was a good place for job seekers, as employment rose by 21,000 in June. The strongest areas for new jobs included ambulatory healthcare services, and in nursing and residential care facilities.
On the other side of the June jobs report, there were pockets of labor-market weakness in several major industry subsectors.
The construction industry added a net of 6,000 new jobs, but the subsector of nonresidential specialty trade contractors lost more than 1,000 positions.
The manufacturing industry was likewise broadly very strong — payrolls rose by 16,000 — but hiring did contract in select areas. For example, electronic instruments and miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing each shed about 1,000 jobs in June.
Other areas where job seekers were out of luck included food manufacturing, which saw payrolls decrease by almost 5,000, and commercial banking, which lost more than 2,500 positions.