The job market is cooling but still surprisingly strong. Is that a good thing?

The US job market remains strong despite showing signs of cooling, with 209,000 jobs added in June, and unemployment falling to 3.6%. However, the persistently strong labor market could exacerbate inflation issues.

Labor market overview: While job growth is slowing, the US economy continues to show resiliency.
* June saw an increase of 209,000 jobs, which while below previous rates, still marks a solid gain.
* The figure represents the smallest employment increase since December 2020.

Unemployment specifics: The unemployment rate remains at historical lows as more workers enter the labor force.
* Unemployment decreased slightly from 3.7% to 3.6% in June, marking the longest period of sub-4% unemployment rates since the 1970s.
* Working-age (25-54 year olds) participation in the job market is increasing, yet unevenly. It rose to 89.2% for men, and reached a record high of 77.8% for women, while the unemployment rate for African Americans increased to 6%.

Wages on the rise: Higher wages are a positive for workers, but could fuel further inflation.
* Wages increased by 4.4% compared to a year ago, keeping pace with the wage hikes in April and May.
* Rising wages could put upward pressure on inflation, especially in service industries where wages constitute a major part of employers’ expenses.

Impact on Federal Reserve: Solid job growth and rising wages could influence the Federal Reserve’s stance on interest rates.
* The Federal Reserve’s concern about the potential inflationary impact of rapid wage increases could trigger further increases in interest rates.
* The market anticipates a quarter percentage point rise in interest rates when the Federal Reserve meets later this month, with more possible if the economy remains resilient.

View original article on NPR

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