Business hiring forges ahead in June, with 213,000 jobs added

Last Updated Jul 6, 2018 10:06 AM EDT

Businesses hired robustly in June, putting to rest fears that this would be the month that trade tensions emerge in U.S. employment data. Some 213,000 jobs were added, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's the second month in a row with hiring figures above 200,000. 

"There's been a lot of discussion about tariffs and we're not seeing it show up yet," said Martha Gimbel, director of economic research for the Indeed Hiring Lab. "We're continuing on a record-breaking pace of job growth."

Unemployment ticked up slightly to 4 percent, but for a good reason—more people looked for work. "The increase in participation was entirely focused on people who have a high school diploma or less," said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. "To me that's a really promising sign about the state of our labor market." 

Job growth this year has been faster than in 2017. Some 1.2 million jobs have been created by the year's halfway point. Revised figures for April and May bring the monthly average for this year to 214,000 jobs—up from 182,000 the year before. 

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Wages continued their modest rise, increasing 2.7 percent from the year before. "What's surprising is not that employers may have to start increasing wages now as the labor market keeps tightening, but rather that they haven't felt that pressure yet," Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said in a blog post.

It is unusual for monthly job numbers to be this high so late into an expansion -- now nine years and counting. "Mostly this is a wave of tax stimulus that's giving a short-term bump for hiring in the affected sectors," said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at jobs website Glassdoor.com. 

The president did not tweet ahead of the report. Donald Trump moved markets last month when he tweeted that he was "looking forward to seeing the employment numbers" more than an hour before they were released. No such Twitter tease this month.