The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs last month and, for the third consecutive month, employers reported raising wages to attract those new and returning workers.
Pay rose 0.3 percent in June from the month before and has climbed 3.6 percent year-on-year through June. Low-wage jobs received the biggest bumps, the New York Times reported.
Leisure and hospitality businesses took on the most employees, with retailers, warehouses, and day care providers also showing strength.
The number of temporary workers also increased, reversing unexpected slumps in April and May.
Hiring of temps after a recession can indicate cautious optimism among employers.
The unemployment rate rose from 5.8 percent in May to 5.9 percent in June, with the labor force participation rate steady at 61.6 percent.
“Today, there are more job openings than before” 2020’s economic collapse “and fewer people in the labor force,” Becky Frankiewicz, president of staffing firm Manpower Group North America, said to the NYT.
“The defining challenge for employers is enticing workers back to the workforce,” she said.
Almost half of small businesses are unable to fill all their available jobs, according to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.
The growing market shares of Amazon, Walmart, and other “super-employers” has made it harder for small businesses to hire low-skill or entry-level workers, Frankiewicz said.
In summer 2019, 25 employers held 10 percent of open jobs; today, only 10 employers do, she noted.
In response, employers are becoming creative. One company rescheduled its shift changes to match local bus schedules so workers could get to work on time with less stress; another adjusted jobs’ hours to meet parents’ needs to pick up children from child care, the NYT reported.
At 850,000, June’s job gains fell below the 1 million benchmark that U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the Fed would like to see consistently as a sign that the economic recovery is sound.
TREND FORECAST: The economy is still 6.8 million jobs short of the number it supported before last year’s economic collapse. Also, the number of people jobless for at least six months rose again, with that group now including four in every ten unemployed workers.
And as noted, the “Bigs” are the biggest employers and what they pay in salaries is far too little for most to rise up to middle class status. Moreover, as evidenced by today’s government report, inflation is rising much higher than wages.
Thus, we maintain our forecast for the rise of “People’s Party” movements to challenge the political establishment parties.