WASHINGTON: Job creation roared back to life in the US economy in June, wiping away fears of a slowdown as employers rushed to hire in transportation, construction and other areas, the government reported Friday.
The US jobs engine added 224,000 net new positions last month, smashing forecasts, the Labor Department said in the closely-watched report, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent as more workers stepped off the sidelines to enter the labor force.
After an unexpectedly weak May, the vigorous June rebound should quiet talk of a steep drop-off in economic activity and delight President Donald Trump as he prepares to seek reelection next year.
But it could disappoint stock markets, which had been banking on an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve following a batch of soft economic data. That rate cut, expected later this month, could now be in doubt.
Still, even with the latest numbers, job creation slowed to a monthly average of 172,000 in the first half of the year, down from the 223,000 a month in all of 2018.
Wage growth in June short of expectations, as average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent to $27.90 an hour, slower than the 0.3 percent economists had been expecting.
Worker pay was up 3.1 percent over the same month last year, and has been at or above three percent for 11 straight months, steadily outpacing inflation and delivering more purchasing power to workers.
Meanwhile, more people came off the sidelines of the labor market making the labor force participation rate -- the share of people available for work compared to the general population -- rise a tenth of a point to 62.9 percent, helping reverse some of the sharp recent declines.
That helped drive the jobless rate back up to 3.7 percent, still very low by historical standards.