BLS Report: Labor Market Rebounds with 224,000 Jobs Added in June, Wage Growth Disappoints


July 5, 2019

The latest jobs numbers are out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What do they mean for job seekers, employers and investors? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao:

This morning’s jobs report sent mixed signals about the health of the labor market as the economy enters its longest expansion on record. In a strong rebound from the disappointing May report, employers added 224,000 jobs in June, exceeding expectations. May’s low payrolls figure, however, stubbornly held, being revised downward only 3,000 jobs to 72,000.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent, up from 3.6 percent in the last 2 months. The small increase, however, is not terribly concerning as 3.6 percent represents a 50-year historic low. Additionally, labor force participation increased by 0.1 percent to 62.9 percent, reversing a stagnating trend in the last 3 months.

Wage growth was the disappointment in today’s job report, coming in at 3.1 percent, below expectations of 3.2 percent. At a time when the historically tight labor market should be translating into higher wages for workers, decelerating wage gains remain a black spot.

Payroll gains in service industries recovered strongly in May, rebounding to April levels. Professional and business services (+51,000 jobs added) and health care and social assistance (+50,500 jobs added) were industries with the highest payroll gains—both industries have carried job gains in 2019 and continued to do so in June.

Transportation and warehousing added 23,900 jobs in June, a clear uptick from the trend in the last few months. That is mirrored in Glassdoor data where job openings in the transportation and logistics sector have increased 49.0 percent year-over-year and pay for drivers has increased 4.2 percent.

Goods-producing sectors rebounded to April levels but are still disappointingly weak relative to services. Construction (+21,000 jobs added) and manufacturing (+17,000 jobs added) are still showing weak gains, but the recovery even in the face of trade headwinds is an encouraging sign.

Retail was the worst-performing industry losing 5,800 jobs, continuing a trend of job losses. Difficulty hiring on top of competition from e-commerce have increased pressure on the industry as it struggles with the retail apocalypse.

Fed watchers hoping for evidence for deeper rate cuts will likely be disappointed by this report which shows a relatively healthy labor market. The stagnating wage gains, however, are concerning in this tight of a labor market. We’ll be watching closely in coming months to see whether wage growth continues to disappoint.

To speak with Daniel Zhao about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @danielbzhao on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.