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US adds 288,000 jobs in June as unemployment rate drops to 6.1%

Analysts expected to see about 215,000 new jobs in June. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The US economy gained 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1%, the Labor Department reported Thursday, in advance of the Fourth of July holiday.

The Labor Department called the job gains “widespread,” with growth in professional and business services, retail and food services. All three major indices opened up about one-third a percentage point on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 63 points, topping 17,000 for the first time. The Nasdaq opened 15 points higher and the S&P 500 is up 15 points.

Wall Street analysts had expected to see around 215,000 jobs created in June, and an unchanged unemployment rate of 6.3%, or 9.8 million people out of work. That number declined to 9.5 million.

The number of jobs in the economy grew despite weak first quarter growth, when the economy shrank by 2.9%.

The number of long-term unemployed, those without work for 27 weeks or more, also declined by 293,000 in June, to 3.1m. In May, these workers accounted for a little more than one-third of the total number of unemployed. That number also dropped – they now account for 32.8% of the total unemployed.

The labor market participation rate, the number of people of working age who are working or seeking employment held steady at 62.8% in June. It hasn’t changed for the past three months.

The department also revised April and May jobs numbers up. In April the numbers rose to 304,000 from 282,000, and in May the numbers rose from 217,000 to 224,000.

Most of the June employment gains were in professional and business services, in sectors such as consulting, computer and architectural services, where the economy added 67,000 jobs. Retail employment added 40,000 jobs, food service added 33,000 and healthcare added 21,000, followed by transportation, financial services and manufacturing.

Workers who had part-time work but wanted full-time work, sometimes referred to as “involuntary part-time workers” is down over the year, but increased by 275,000 in June, for a total of 7.5m workers overall.

At least 2m workers weren’t counted as unemployed because they hadn’t looked for work in the last month, possibly because of family responsibilities or school attendance. Discouraged workers, those who are available for work but don’t believe there are jobs for them, was 676,000 people in June. That number is down by 351,000 from year before.

Numbers released by the Department of Labor on Thursday reflected those released Wednesday by ADP, the country’s largest payroll company. The country added 281,000 jobs according to that report.

Source: Guardian

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