US adds a solid 213,000 jobs; unemployment up to 4 pct.


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers kept up a brisk hiring pace in June by adding 213,000 jobs in a sign of confidence despite the start of a potentially punishing trade war with China.

At the same time, the unemployment rate rose to 4 percent from 3.8 percent, the government said today, as more people began looking for a job and not all of them found one.

On the same day the Trump administration began imposing tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing hit back with tariffs on the same amount of U.S. goods, the job gain showed that the 9-year-old U.S. economic expansion – the second-longest on record – remains on firm footing.

Still, average hourly pay rose just 2.7 percent in June from 12 months earlier, meaning that after adjusting for inflation, wages remain nearly flat. The low jobless rate has yet to force employers to offer higher wages in order to fill job openings.

One reason that some employers may not be feeling pressure to raise wages is that more people are beginning to look for work, thereby keeping up the pool of job applicants: The ranks of unemployed people seeking jobs jumped by 499,000 in June, which caused the unemployment rate to rise from its previous 18 year-low.

Manufacturers added 36,000 jobs last month; the education and health sector added 54,000. But retailers shed 21,600 jobs, with the losses concentrated at general merchandise stores.

In its report Friday, the government revised up its estimate of job growth in May and April by a combined 37,000. Over the past three months, the economy has produced a robust average monthly job gain of 211,000.

The broader U.S. economy appears sturdy. Economists are forecasting that economic growth accelerated to an annual pace of roughly 4 percent during the April-June quarter, about double the previous quarter's pace.

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