News Column

Employment, Stock Market Keep Growing

July 8, 2014

Isaac Cohen --

Hiring is up but participation in the labor force is down (file photo)
Hiring is up but participation in the labor force is down (file photo)

The creation of 288,000 new jobs in June, announced by the Labor Department last week, was the best performance in the U.S. labor market since 2008.

The unemployment rate declined from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent and the stock market for the first time broke the 17,000-point barrier.

Such positive news followed the surprising fall of almost 3 percent in economic growth of this year's first quarter.

So far this year, average monthly job creation has reached 231,000 new jobs. As highlighted by Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a Washington Post op-ed, this is "the largest first half-year for job growth since the late 1990s."

All economic sectors created new jobs in June, with greater growth among those paying lower wages, such as retail with over 40,000 and hospitality 39,000. Even local, state and federal government hiring increased by 26,000 in June.

However, this positive rate of job creation is attained in a context of declining labor force participation, at 62.8 percent, the lowest level since 1978, down from 66 percent in 2008.

At June's pace of job creation, assuming the rate of participation in the labor force remains the same, the Wall Street Journal projects unemployment will be 5.7 percent by the end of the year and 5.1 percent by next June.


Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.

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