Health care, construction hiring drive strong U.S. jobs growth in June | Economy


Job gains for April and May were revised higher by 47,000. In the first six months of this year, hiring has averaged nearly 180,000 jobs a month. That’s only slightly below last year’s pace.

Yet even with the robust hiring, average hourly pay rose by just 2.5 percent from a year earlier. That’s below the 3.5 percent pace typical of a healthy economy.

The pace of job gains remains relatively strong, nearly seven years into the current economic expansion. However, it is significantly slower than what would be required to meet President Trump’s ambitious promise of creating 25 million jobs in the next decade.

On Monday, President Trump took to Twitter to celebrate gains made in the economy. “Really great numbers on jobs & the economy!” he wrote. “Things are starting to kick in now, and we have just begun!”

Economists say the president has probably not been in office long enough to have much of an influence on the economy – and that the economy that Trump is now presiding over looks nearly identical to that at the end of the Obama administration.

Trump’s election fueled hopes of tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and other policies that would support business. But while the administration has moved quickly to dismantle regulations, legislative efforts that would alter taxes and spending have proved far more difficult, as divisions within Congressional Republicans have bogged down healthcare reform. Many business leaders are still hoping for tax reform before the end of the year, but they privately say the window is closing.

Even as hopes for a “Trump bump” that would stimulate the economy recede, the economy continues to chug along, with steady if unimpressive growth.

“We’re doing fine. It’s just not as much as many people would like, but it’s a very healthy 2 percent,” Blu Putnam, chief economist at CME Group, said of rates of economic growth.

While the current economic expansion is already the third-longest in history, an aging population and a relative lack of technological innovation mean that rates of economic growth have been slower than past boom times.

Still, the Federal Reserve has judged that it is time to begin to raise interest rates to more normal levels, after holding them low to stimulate the economy after the recession. On June 14, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, from 1 percent to 1.25 percent, the third such increase in six months.

Christopher Rugaber, Associated Press, and Anna Swanson, Washington Post

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Health care, construction hiring drive strong U.S. jobs growth in June | Economy

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