In a mixed jobs report, the economy added 223,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3% in June – the lowest level since April 2008. But the drop in the jobless rate was due to the fact that the labor force participation rate fell to a 37-year low as 432,000 people left the workforce. So far this year, this economy has created an average 208,000 jobs per month.
Employers announced 44,842 lay-offs last month, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, bringing the number of announced job cuts to 287,672 for the first half of the year.
On a positive note, pending home sales rose to a nine-year high in May, according to the National Association of Realtors. “The steady pace of solid job creation seen now for over a year has given the housing market a boost this spring”, however “housing affordability remains a pressing issue with home-price growth increasing around four times the pace of wages. Without meaningful gains in new and existing supply, there’s no question the goalpost will move further away for many renters wanting to become homeowners.”
Construction spending also rose in May, increasing .8% to an annual rate of $1.04 trillion.
US manufacturers grew in June at the fastest pace since the start of the year, as the ISM manufacturing index rose to 53.5%. The gauge of employment and hiring intentions rose, and the gauge of new orders ticked up as well.