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Biden cheers blockbuster jobs report as recession fears fade

President Biden on Friday cheered a monthly jobs report that blew away expectations and dispelled fears of a possible recession.

Minutes after the Labor Department said employers added 339,000 jobs in May, Biden took credit for a booming labor market that continues to defy expectations of an impending slowdown.

“Today is a good day for the American economy and American workers,” Biden said in a statement. “In short, the Biden economic plan is working.”

The new report reflected the job market’s resilience after more than a year of rapid interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve. Many industries, from construction to restaurants to health care, are still adding jobs to keep up with consumer demand and restore their workforces to pre-pandemic levels.

Yet there were some mixed messages in the jobs figures, which also showed that the unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, from a five-decade low of 3.4% in April. The government compiles the unemployment data with a different survey than the one used to calculate job gains. The two surveys can sometimes conflict.

In the jobs report, the government lifted its estimate for job growth in March and April by 93,000 jobs, a signal of the robust performance of the labor market.

Average hourly pay rose 11 cents to $33.44, up 4.3% from a year ago. Wages continue to grow faster than the 3% annual pace prior to the pandemic but are down from a red-hot rate near 6% last year.

People work at a construction site, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Miami.

Even with the job gains, the slowdown in wages could cause a pause in interest rate hikes. The Fed, having imposed 10 straight rate hikes since March 2022, is widely expected to skip a rate increase when it meets later this month, though it may resume its increases after that.

With News Wire Services

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