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Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.1%

The Department of Labor released its June employment situation report (link opens in PDF) Thursday, and the job market is looking up. After increasing a revised 217,000 for May, total nonfarm payroll employment jumped ahead 288,000 for June, clocking in well past analyst estimates of a dip to 211,000. 

The increase in payrolls made its way into the unemployment rate, as well. From 6.3% in May, the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.1%, the lowest since September 2008.

Source: Labor Department 

In the private sector, a 67,000-job  increase in professional and business services provided the primary payroll boost. Retail trade employment increased 40,000, while food services and drinking places added 33,000 to their ranks.

Government employment changed little, signaling that June's labor market improvement occurred without the direct help of Uncle Sam. That syncs well with Wednesday's ADP National Employment Report, which put private payroll expansion at 281,000 for June.

For those with jobs, June's hourly earnings increased 0.2% to $24.45, exactly in line with analyst expectations. 

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