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Unemployment rate rises to 4 percent in June

The Labor Department reports more people looked for jobs last month

Photo (c) zimmytws - Getty Images
More people found jobs last month, but even more were looking for one, so the nation's unemployment rate rose to 4 percent, from 3.8 percent in May. The economy added 213,000 jobs.

There was an increase in the number of jobs created in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care, while retail trade lost jobs.

Black unemployment, which fell to a record low in May, rose in June to 6.5 percent.

"Incorporating revisions for April and May, which increased nonfarm payroll employment by 37,000, monthly job gains have averaged 211,000 over the past 3 months," said William Wiatrowski, Acting Commissioner Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The overall unemployment rate rose because more people were looking for jobs last month. Economists see it as an encouraging sign because it suggests people who had stopped looking for a job are trying to reenter the labor force.

More than 2 million reentered the workforce

The number of people who re-entered the workforce increased to 2,184,000 last month, an increase from 1,933,000 in May.

The number of unemployed Americans increased in June by nearly 500,000, to 6.6 million. That's down from 7 million in June 2017.

Job creation might have been greater if employers had been able to find qualified applicants. In a June survey by the ManpowerGroup, employers complained of a talent shortage, especially in the area of skilled tradesmen. In particular, employers said skilled workers -- such as electricians, welders, and mechanics -- are hard to find. They also said many positions as salesmen and drivers are going unfilled.

Despite what appears to be a tightening labor market, average hourly earnings increased by only 6 cents, from $22.52 in April to $22.58. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $26.98.

On a year-over-year basis, average hourly earnings have increased by 72 cents, or 2.7 percent.

Job growth continues at the fastest rate in the professional and business services sector, which added 50,000 positions in June and has grown by 521,000 so far in 2018. Manufacturing added 36,000 jobs, mostly at factories making durable goods.

Retailers, meanwhile, eliminated 22,000 jobs in June, largely offsetting the 25,000 they added in May.

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