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Unemployment falls to 6.1% after 288,000 jobs added in June

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The Bureau of labor Statistics released the official jobs report for June today and the news was good. The economy added 288,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. In addition, the job totals for April and May were revised upwards by 29,000 jobs. Job growth in the first six months of 2014 are the strongest of any year since 1992.

In June, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 325,000 to 9.5 million. Over the last year, the number if unemployed persons declined by 2.3 million or 1.4 percent. The number of discouraged workers also decreased last month. Over the year, the number of discouraged workers has declined by 351,000.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) also dropped by 293,000 to 3.1 million. These individuals accounted for 32.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 1.2 million.

For the third consecutive month, however, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent, meaning less than two thirds of the population is in the job market. The employment-population ratio, at 59.0 percent, showed little change over the month but is up by 0.3 percentage point over the year. Many of those who are not in the job market are in school, retired, disabled, ill, or not working to care for children or other family members.

The number of persons employed part time for because they were unable to find a full time job increased by 275,000 in June to 7.5 million. The number of involuntary part-time workers is down over the year but has shown no clear trend in recent months. The increase is likely due to summer jobs, which are often part- time jobs.

Job gains were seen in every sector of the economy, including the public sector. Federal, state, and local governments added 26,000 jobs in June, reversing a years-long trend of layoffs. The federal government added 2,000 jobs, mostly in the postal service. State governments also added 1,800 new workers, but local governments increased their employment by 22,000.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 67,000, more than the 53,000 per month average over the prior 12 months. Retail stores hired 40,000 new workers in June showing that consumers are buying again after the cold winter, which caused GDP to fall over 2 percent during the first quarter. Over the prior 12 months, employment in this industry had grown by an average of 26,000 per month.

Employment in food services and drinking places also rose by 33,000 in June and has increased by 314,000 over the past year, showing that Americans have more discretionary income than during the recession.

Health care employment increased by 21,000 in June, in line with the average gain of 18,000 per month over the last year. This continues to show that Obamacare has not killed jobs like Republicans have predicted since 2009.

The transportation and warehousing sectors increased employment by 17,000 in June. Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs, with all of the increase in durable goods manufacturing. The wholesale trade sector added 15,000 jobs over the month and has added 140,000 jobs over the year.

Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, information, and government.

These numbers were better than economists expected, and were welcome.

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