US Employers Added 177K Jobs in June

David L. Ryan  Globe Staff

David L. Ryan Globe Staff

Derek Volk, the president of Volk Packaging in Biddeford, Maine, told the Wall Street Journal he recently let a worker push back her start time due to a day-care issue involving her dog.

Manufacturers added 36,000 jobs last month. And companies have been offering more benefits to attract and retain their workers.

The services sector again led the way with 148,000 new hires, with healthcare job growth once again the biggest increase.

ADP said the economy continues to add jobs and companies increasingly report trouble finding workers to fill open positions.

While this ADP report is short of expectations, the reality is that the market is rather tight and it still marching toward full employment.

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Dow Jones is calling for Friday's Department of Labor report on nonfarm payrolls to come in at a gain of 195,000 for June. The education and health sector led the gains by adding 46,000 workers.

A separate report showed USA filings for unemployment benefits rose to a six-week high at the end of June, while remaining consistent with a tight labor market and below year-ago levels. Average hourly pay has held flat for the past year after adjusting for inflation, according to the Labor Department. Its figures frequently diverge from the government's report. 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.

Steady gains in employment are helping underpin consumer spending and lift economic growth even as uncertainty surrounding import tariffs poses a risk to the outlook for businesses. Still, economists say they think the low unemployment rate will eventually force more employers to offer higher pay in order to fill jobs.

Despite signs of a worker shortage, Paychex found that pay growth has been trending downward.

The economy also faces a wild card in the tariffs being imposed on China. Any escalation in the conflict with China could disrupt hiring as companies grapple with higher import prices and diminished demand for their exports. The Trump administration has applied tariffs on steel and aluminum from allies like Canada and Mexico and has threatened to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement with those two countries. Trump has spoken about slapping tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, which General Motors has warned could hurt the US auto industry and drive up vehicle prices.

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