Job creation surged beyond expectations in June and the unemployment rate fell to an almost six-year low, underscoring the strength of a U.S. labor market that will help spur a rebound in growth. The addition of 288,000 jobs followed a 224,000 gain the prior month that was bigger than previously estimated, Labor Department figures showed. The number of long-term unemployed Americans fell to 3.1 million, showing they’re having greater success finding work.
A separate report from the Labor Department today showed little change in the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that employers are limiting dismissals. Jobless claims rose by 2,000 to 315,000 in the week ended June 28. In June, applications for jobless benefits ranged from 313,000 to 318,000. Fewer firings typically foreshadow an acceleration of job growth.
Figures from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed 5.6 percent in May to $44.4 billion, helped by record exports. The value of petroleum imports was the smallest since November 2010. Gross domestic product probably bounced back in the second quarter and will expand at an average 3.1 percent rate in the remaining two quarters of 2014 as household purchases are also expected to improve. Factories, propelled by the strongest orders of the year, sustained gains in June and are poised to be part of the rebound. The Labor Department’s payrolls report also showed factory hiring increased by 16,000 in June. Employment at private service-providers jumped 236,000. Retailers took on 40,200 employees.