Going into this morning, most economists projected job growth from June to be about 155,000 new jobs. With this in mind, the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows not only good news, but unexpectedly good news.
The U.S. economy added a better-than-expected 195,000 jobs in June and employment gains for May and April were revised sharply higher, the U.S. government said Friday. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6%, but the size of the labor force increased by 177,000, according to the Labor Department said.
As is usually the case, there was a gap between the two major sectors -- America's private sector added 202,000 jobs last month, while spending cuts caused the public sector shed 7,000 jobs.
Perhaps the most important -- and most heartening -- detail in this new report is the upward revisions for the previous two months. In April, the economy added 199,000 jobs (up from a previous estimate of 149,000), while May revisions point to 195,000 jobs (up from 175,000). Taken together, that's 70,000 previously unreported jobs, on top of the new totals from June.
Given these figures, the three-month stretch -- April through June -- is the best we've seen since early 2012. To be sure, if the economic recovery were more robust, we'd see even stronger numbers, but given where we've been, and the steps taken to undermine growth (sequestration cuts), this is an awfully encouraging jobs report.
All told, for the first half of calendar year 2013, the economy has added 1.21 jobs overall, and 1.23 million in the private sector. Not too shabby.
Above you'll find the chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here's another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.