July 21, 2017
Economists say hiring surged in June, although pay gains remain weak, a stark reminder of one of the economy’s key shortcomings.
Employers reportedly added 222,000 jobs last month, and hiring in the previous two months was revised much higher. Job gains have now averaged nearly 180,000 a month this year, only slightly below last year’s pace.
Even with June’s strong hiring, average hourly pay rose just 2.55% from a year earlier.
One factor for that: The influx of job seekers last month – who had previously been on the sidelines, not counted as unemployed – might have offset some upward wage pressures. Employers had more applicants to choose from.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said many workers are too cautious to push for raises, partly because of the lingering effects of the Great Recession eight years ago, when nearly nine million people lost their jobs.
And some businesses have decided they can’t raise prices enough to afford meaningful pay raises.
The June jobs report showed broad hiring across numerous industries. Healthcare posted the biggest job gain – 59,100 – despite uncertainty around healthcare legislation in Congress.