US economy adds 372,000 jobs amid concerns about inflation

The unemployment rate remains at 3.6 per cent but unemployment for Asian workers jumped by 3 per cent.

Eric Garcia
Friday 08 July 2022 17:19 BST
(Getty Images)

The US economy added 372,000 jobs during the month of June 2022 as voters’ concerns about inflation continue, as does their dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden.

The unemployment rate remained at 3.6 per cent, unchanged from the previous month, as was the number of long-term unemployed workers--who are defined as being jobless for more than 27 weeks. Roughly 1.3m workers are long-term unemployed.

Similarly, the labour force participation rate, which is the number of people who are either working or looking for work, changed little at 62.2 per cent, which is still below the 63.4 per cent labour force participation rate in February 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic caused numerous businesses to shut down.

Mr Biden praised the jobs numbers, saying the US has recovered all the jobs it lost during the Covid-19 pandemic and attributed the success to his administration’s reponse to the pandemic and passing the American Rescue Plan.

“In the second quarter of this year, we created more jobs than in any quarter under any of my predecessors in the nearly 40 years before the pandemic”, he said. “We have more Americans working in the private sector today than any day during Donald Trump’s Presidency – more people than any time in our history.”

At the same time, later in the day, he acknowledged many voters are worried about inflation and rising cost of living.

“But today’s economic news confirms the fact that my economic plan is moving this country in a better direction”, he said. “Gas prices still way too high have fallen out 25 days in a row. and this week, we saw the second largest single-day decrease in gas prices in a decade.”

Professional and business services saw the biggest growth, adding 74,000 jobs in June and has 880,000 more jobs than it did in February 2020, while leisure and hospitality sectors gained 67,000 jobs.

But employment in construction, retail trade, financial services, other services and government changed little.

Wages grew modestly in the last month, rising by 10 cents of 0.3 per cent. In the past year, hourly earnings grew 5.1 per cent.

Employment among Hispanic, adult women, adult men, white, teenaged and Black workers grew little while the unemployment rate for Asian workers jumped by 3 per cent.

The numbers come as many workers are mostly concerned with inflation. Inflation hit a 40-year high in May when the Bureau of Labour Statistics revealed that prices grew 8.6 per cent in the past twelve months, the highest it has been since December 1981.

Mr Biden has sought to lay the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to an increase in the cost of grain and fuel.

“The historic strength of our job market is one reason our economy is uniquely well positioned to tackle a range of global economic challenges – from global inflation to the economic fallout from Putin’s war”, he said in his statement. “No country is better positioned than America to bring down inflation, without giving up all of the economic gains we have made over the last 18 months.”

An Associated Press-NORC poll showed that inflation is now the top priority for Americans, as 40 per cent named inflation as one of their top five concern.

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