June report shows job growth slower than expected and 3.6% unemployment rate

The U.S. saw continued job growth in June, but not at the same blistering pace that has been a concern for the Federal Reserve, as it tries to thread the needle by slowing the economy just enough to stem rising inflation, but keeping enough economic growth to prevent a recession.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on June job growth showed the U.S. added 209,000 jobs. That is lower than the 240,000 economists had expected, but still a sign of a strong economy.

The unemployment rate dropped from 3.7% to 3.6%.

So called "prime-age" workers, between 25–54 years old, reached the highest employment rate in 22 years, with nearly 81% working.

"For women, prime-age women, it's the highest on record since the data started to be collected in 1948," said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

"The only worrisome sign is the uptick in unemployment among Black workers and young workers," said Jacobs.

The unemployment rate for Black Americans edged up from a record low of 4.7% in April to 6% in June, and economists say they'll be watching to see if that uptick becomes a trend.

Sectors that added jobs included: health care, social services, private education and state and local governments,

Construction firms also added jobs with the Biden administrations infrastructure spending.

Automakers saw job growth as pent-up demand for vehicles continues out of the pandemic shortages.

The average hourly earnings in June increased by .4%, staying above the 4% inflation rate.

"There's good evidence that when the minimum wage goes up, that more working parents decide that they can afford to work, and so with wages at the bottom coming up that may be drawing more people into the workforce," said Jacobs.

Areas of job cuts, included retailers, transportation, warehousing, and temporary staffing agencies

Some experts say it's likely the Federal Reserve will continue applying the brakes with another interest rate hike this month.

"I don't think that this will meaningfully impact the probability of another July hike -- maybe it could shave a little bit off the probability of a further hike down the line. But this is still a pretty big number," said Tyler Goodspeed, former Acting Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

The Federal Reserve has indicated it could have two more interest rate hikes by the end of the year. 

The Fed's next meeting is scheduled for July 25th and 26th.