June’s report was softer-than-expected with nonfarm payroll growth at 223,000 with downward revisions totaling 60,000 to the two prior months (May revised to 254,000 from 280,000 and April to 187,000 from 221,000). Softness in payroll growth combines with softness in wage pressures with average hourly earnings unchanged in the month and the year-on-year rate moving down to 2.0 percent from 2.3 percent.
Timing distortions tied to the end of the school year, specifically new entrants to the labor market, appear to have pulled down the unemployment rate to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent as the labor force in the household part of the report shrunk sharply, in turn pulling down the labor force participation rate by 3 tenths to an unusually low 62.6 percent. The U-6 unemployment rate, a favorite of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s, fell 3 tenths to 10.5 percent.
Turning back to the establishment part of the report, private payrolls rose 223,000 vs a revised 250,000 in May. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours. Industries of note include a solid 33,000 rise in retail jobs and a 64,000 rise in professional & business service jobs. The latter reading includes a solid 20,000 rise in temporary help that hints at gains for permanent hiring ahead. Manufacturing and construction jobs were flat.