June’s jobs report, released Friday morning, was the best in months, by almost every measure.
The headline number was that in June the U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs, the most since February. Also, the April and May totals were revised upward by 47,000, demolishing the idea of a “weak spring”: The last three months saw 194,000 additional jobs on average.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4%, but that may have been because more discouraged workers reentered the labor force. (Workforce participation rose in tandem with unemployment last month.)
And, in a disappointing number, hourly earnings grew by only 0.2%, or 2.5% over the last 12 months. Despite a labor market close to full employment and theoretically millions of unfilled jobs, employers still haven’t found it worth their while to raise wages.
But in all the punditry and instant analysis that followed, one number got short shrift, in my opinion.