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A Closer Look at the June Jobs Report - 7/13/15

At first blush, the nation’s most recent jobs report looks pretty good.  The nation added an estimated two hundred and twenty three thousand jobs in June, a decent reading.  The unemployment rate dipped to five point three percent, the lowest rate since April two thousand and eight.  The recession had begun by then, but wouldn’t become severe for another five months. 

But as writer Neil Irwin points out, the most recent jobs report offers some grey linings in what otherwise seems to be a nice puffy cloud.  For one, job growth has slowed.  At the end of last year, the six-month average for job growth reached two hundred and eighty one thousand, the highest since two thousand.  The six-month average has since tumbled to two hundred and eight thousand.  Even that’s most particularly distressing, however. 

As unemployment falls, it becomes more difficult for employers to find talent to fill open positions.  That brings us to the second source of disappointing – a labor force participation rate that has fallen to sixty two point six percent.  The last time the participation rate was so low, Jimmy Carter was still in the first half of his term as president.  Finally, average hourly earnings were unchanged in June and are up only 2 percent over the past year.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.