By Isaac Cohen*
The last figures released by the Labor Department, on employment in June, revealed vigorous hiring at 223,000 new jobs, with flat wages and a lower unemployment rate, of 5.3 percent, due to a decrease in the rate of participation in the labor force.
With 57 consecutive months of job creation, the recovery of the US economy from the Great Recession, entering into its seventh year, has turned into the longest expansion since World War II. However, there are also mixed signals, because salaries have increased at a yearly average of 2 percent throughout the expansion, barely above the rate of inflation, which has remained, for more than two years, under the objective of 2 percent set by the central bank.
In June, the unemployment rate decreased to 5.3 percent, from 5.5 percent in May, mainly because last month 432,000 persons stopped looking for work. This brought down the rate of participation in the labor force to 62.6 percent, from 62.9 percent in May, the lowest rate since 1977.
By sectors in June manufacturing added only 4,000 new jobs, while there was no increase in hiring in construction and government, Most of the job gains were in services, such as healthcare with 40,000, retail 30,000, hospitality 22,000 and the financial sector with 20,000.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.