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Nonfarm payrolls were essentially flat in June, growing just 18,000 and falling well short of consensus expectations. Revisions to the past two months lowered nonfarm payroll estimates for April and May by a total of 44,000. Factoring in the two-month gain through revisions to government payrolls of 24,000, the private sector lost a total of 68,000 from their April and May totals. Since averaging a gain of 220,000 nonfarm payrolls from February to April, the past two months have added an average of 22,000 jobs. Goods-producing payrolls were virtually unchanged in June (up 4,000) following a similarly flat May (up 3,000). Construction payrolls fell 9,000 in June, while mining and logging payrolls rose by 7,000. Manufacturing payrolls gained 6,000 during the month, continuing its slowdown from the first quarter. Private service-producing employment rose by 53,000 in June, matching the 70,000 gain in May after strong gains in April and March. Retail trade employment remained a fairly noisy series in June, adding 5,200 payrolls after a 4,300 decline in May (the noise is characteristic of either seasonal adjustment issues or mismeasurement). Professional and business services added 12,000 jobs in June, fewer than the 90,000 added in April and May, but did so after the decline in temporary help services continued for the third consecutive month. Temporary help services payrolls have fallen by 19,100 over the past three months. Education and health services hit a bump in June, coming in flat after averaging a gain of 35,000 over the past 12 months. Revisions also knocked a total of 30,000 payrolls off of education and health services employment gains over April and May. Leisure and hospitality rebounded from a 24,000 decline in May by adding 34,000 payrolls in June.
Average weekly hours of private employees dropped slightly from 34.4 in May to 34.3 in June, and the index of aggregate hours decline from 93.9 to 93.6. The breadth of the expansion, as indicated in the 1-month diffusion index, did not recover from May’s 54.1 reading. June’s index was reported as 53.4, indicating that just over half of private industries added to their payrolls during the month. Turning to the household side of the report, the unemployment rate edged up for the second consecutive month, going from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent in June. The unemployment rate increase came in as the increase in the number of unemployed outpaced the decline in the labor force. There was also a move up in the other measures of labor underutilization (U4, U5 and U6) that include discouraged and marginally attached workers in the underlying definitions. The employment-to-population ratio fell from 58.4 to 58.2, matching its low during the cycle. The labor force participation rate fell to its lowest value since 1984, falling to 64.1 percent.