Unemployment Claims Up, Slightly, In US

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The jobs report found average wages increased by four cents to $26.25 in the month of June. That lifted the year-on-year increase in wages to 2.5 per cent from 2.4 per cent in May.

Significant job gains occurred in health care (37,000 jobs), professional and business services (35,000 jobs), food services (29,000 jobs) and social assistance (23,000 jobs).

The number of Americans not participating in the labor force declined from 94,983,000 in May to 94,813,000 in June. It also trails the first five months of Obama's second term, when 1 million jobs were added, and the first five months of George W. Bush's second term, when 1.2 million jobs were added.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 1.7 million in June and accounted for 24.3 percent of the unemployed. Maybe there is some seasonal adjustment issues at play affecting summer student hirings, because kids aged 16 to 19 saw a jobs surge of 203,000 last month. These figures were revised down in Friday's report to show gains were just 0.1% over last month and 2.4% over a year ago in May. As more workers begin looking for jobs, that can push the unemployment rate higher.

CBO projects that the unemployment rate will remain around 4.3 percent by the end of 2017 and then drop further to 4.2 percent in early 2018.

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"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent", the report detailed. The mining sector added 8,000 jobs in June, adding to a total of 56,000 new jobs since reaching a recent low point in October 2016. "While the unemployment rate notched up slightly, to 4.4%, the size of the labor force ticked up and other measures of labor market health are good". The employment-population ratio for prime age adults hasn't regained what it lost since the last recession, but it has at least made up most of the difference.

Credit card companies - which stand to benefit if interest rates rise - were among the winners, as the jobs gain boosted expectations that the Federal Reserve would maintain its plan to raise interest rates further.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also adjusted the figures for April (from 174,000 to 207,000) and May (from 138,000 to 152,000).

Some strategists and economists are looking beyond the unemployment and monthly job gains numbers.

The sector has purged jobs for three straight months.