- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2021

Employers added a better-than-expected 850,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported Friday in another indication that the U.S. economy is heating up.

Private sector jobs rose by about 15,000 and manufacturing jobs also increased, although the unemployment rate climbed to 5.9%, from 5.5% in May. The labor force participation rate remained steady.

Forecasters had expected job growth of slightly more than 700,000 last month. Stocks moved higher Friday on the positive report.

President Biden said it was proof that his policies are working.

“None of this happened by accident,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “It’s a direct result of the American Rescue Plan. And at the time, people questioned whether or not we should do that even though we didn’t have bipartisan support. Well, it worked.”

Republicans said the administration is still far short of the number of jobs that the president promised his big-spending plan would produce.

“Even with the June jobs report, a reopening economy and trillions of stimulus spending, President Biden has quickly fallen 679,000 jobs short of the projections for his jobs plan, workers are still staying on the sidelines, and while wages are going up, prices are going up faster. These are troubling signs for families and Main Street businesses,” said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that “notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, retail trade, and other services.”

The slight rise in the unemployment rate may reflect an increase in people looking for work as the vaccination push eases the COVID-19 health crisis.

The report was well above the average of the previous three months, and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.

It was the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession.

Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels.

Despite the job market’s steady improvement, unemployment remains well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck, and the economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.

But joblessness has plummeted from the 14.8% rate in April of last year, just after the coronavirus erupted and triggered tens of millions of layoffs.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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