Workers Emerge From the Woodwork

Ford trucks rolls of the line at a plan in Ohio

A barista at Coeur d'Alene Coffee Company.

WASHINGTON, July 6 (Reuters) - U.S. employers likely maintained a brisk pace of hiring in June while increasing wages for workers, which would reinforce expectations of robust economic growth in the second quarter and allow the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates.

June also saw more people joining the workforce, meaning more people either had a job or started looking for jobs.

A long run of impressive monthly job creation is among the main reasons why the projections of economists, in both the private and public sectors, have continued to be bullish for US growth, despite growing uncertainty about the rest of the global economy and the threat of a trade war. Yet its path ahead is uncertain.

The Labor Department will publish its closely watched employment report on Friday at 0830 EDT (1230 GMT).

"The tariffs jumble things about what we should expect to see in the next few months", said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, to the AP. Over the past three months, the economy has produced a robust average monthly job gain of 211,000.

Still, average hourly pay rose just 2.7 per cent in June from 12 months earlier, meaning that after adjusting for inflation, wages remain almost flat.

Despite a relatively tight labour market, wage growth remains stuck in the 2 per cent range, with the annual gain of 2.7 per cent unchanged from May. It is expected to hover around its target for a while, in part because of labor market tightness.

Nearly half of June's construction jobs increase (+13,000) occurred in the "heavy and civil engineering" category, +6,000. The low jobless rate has yet to force employers to offer higher wages in order to fill job openings. "This is exactly what we wanted to see: marginalized Americans coming back into the labor force".

The report showed little, if any, evidence of tariff-related weakness in the economy, especially with continued strength in goods-producing jobs. The education and health sector added 54,000. This suggests renewed economic optimism among less-skilled or less-educated workers.

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But even that reflected a healthy economy: It rose because more than 600,000 Americans joined the work force. "It's a good thing". The department also boosted its estimate for April job growth up to 175,000 - up from an earlier assessment of 159,000.

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Manufacturers and services firms have said in recent surveys that their business is improving despite anxiety about the tariff showdown.

The monthly average climb so far in 2018 has been +215,000. Retail sales jumped a strong 0.8 percent in May in a sign that consumers feel secure enough to spend. That risks weighing on economic growth and the pace of hiring and investment.

Hiring and the economy have probably been getting a boost this year from tax cuts that took effect in January, along with a government-spending increase that Trump signed this year. "This generates a rising standard of living and strong income growth".

On the negative side, the unemployment rate for black workers increased 0.6 percentage points to 6.5 percent from the record low hit in May.

These figures are capable of creating confidence in the economy of the US. On Thursday, Trump floated the prospect of imposing tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese imports.

There's still more room to run for America's labour market, just as a trade war threatens the outlook for the world's largest economy. Prices for U.S. Treasuries rose. The department also boosted its estimate for April job growth up to 175,000 - up from an earlier assessment of 159,000.

Manufacturing added 36,000 jobs, the most since December.

The public sector gained 11,800 jobs and the private sector lost 2,000. It was "general merchandise stores, including warehouse clubs and supercenters" that initiated the big cuts, -18,000 jobs.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 213,000 in June, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

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