+220,000 Jobs in June; Record 153,168,000 Employed

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2017 | 8:41 AM EDT

President Trump signs an executive order seeking to expand apprenticeship and vocational training, close the skills gap and reduce regulatory burdens, at the White House on June 15, 2017. (White House photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. economy added 220,000 jobs in June, the best showing since February and well above analysts' expectations of 174,000.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics also said the number of employed Americans -- which set records in February, March and April -- set another record in June, at 153,168,000 employed.

And the number of Americans not in the labor force -- after four straight monthly gains – dropped a bit to 94,813,000.

People age 16 and older who are not institutionalized or in the military are counted as “not in the labor force” if they are neither working nor looking for work. This number includes retirees, students, homemakers, the disabled, and others who have stopped looking for work for whatever reason.

The labor force participation rate rose a tenth of a point to 62.8 percent in June, which is within two-tenths of a point where it's been since January. As BLS has noted, the participation rate shows no clear trend.

(The participation rate hit a record high of 67.3 percent in early 2000, plunging to a 38-year low of 62.4 percent in September 2015.)

The June unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point to 4.4 percent, which is near historic lows.

"Really great numbers on jobs & the economy! Trump tweeted on July 3. "Things are starting to kick in now, and we have just begun! Don't like steel & aluminum dumping!"

He was talking about a July 3 report showing that U.S. manufacturers grew at their fastest pace in three years. In Friday’s report, BLS said the economy added 1,000 manufacturing jobs last month, for a total of 12,396,000.

In June, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 254,957,000. Of those, 160,145,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 160,145,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.8 percent of the  254,957,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised up from +174,000 to +207,000; and the change for May was revised up from +138,000 to +152,000.

BLS noted that with these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 47,000 more than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 194,000 per month.

In a June 29, 2017 update, the Congressional Budget Office said it expects the U.S. labor market to tighten in the next two years, as greater demand for workers will push the unemployment rate down and the labor force participation rate up.

The projected demand for workers will encourage more people to participate in the labor force, temporarily offsetting the projected decline in participation arising from such factors as the ongoing retirement of baby boomers.

CBO projects that the unemployment rate will remain around 4.3 percent by the end of 2017 and then drop further to 4.2 percent in early 2018.

According to the CBO update:

-- The labor force participation rate (the share of the civilian noninstitutionalized population age 16 or over who either have jobs or are available for work and actively seeking employment) will remain relatively constant over the next two years.

-- Further tightening of the labor market will boost the growth of wages and salaries over the next two years.

-- Price inflation is expected to continue rising over the remainder of this year, and interest rates will rise as well.

-- Over the next decade, labor force growth will be constrained by slow population growth and by the aging and retirement of the baby-boom generation.