The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs and the jobless rate held even at 3.6 percent, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.
It was the 16th straight month of job growth and the 12th straight month that more than 400,000 jobs were added.
Average hourly earnings for workers climbed by 0.3 percent month-on-month, a slower pace than the 0.5 percent seen last month. Year-on-year, earnings were up 5.5 percent, compared with an inflation rate of 8.2 percent.
“The job market continues to plow forward, buoyed by strong employer demand. After just over two years of the pandemic, the job market is remaining resilient and on track for a return to pre-pandemic levels this summer,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at jobs review site Glassdoor. “However, the job market is showing some signs of cooling as it turns the corner and the recovery enters a new phase.”
The Federal Reserve earlier this week opted to raise interest rates further and announced the start of quantitative tightening, or rolling assets off the central bank’s $9 trillion balance sheet. At his post-Fed meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell expressed optimism that the moves would succeed in addressing some of the demand-side factors contributing to inflation and that, combined with some easing in supply-side constraints, these would help put a cap on rising prices.
“Wages are running high, the highest they’ve run in quite some time. And they are one good example … of how tight the labor market really is,” Powell said during his press conference Wednesday. “The fact that wages are running at the highest level in many decades. And that’s because of an imbalance between supply and demand in the labor market.”
“So we think through our policies, through further healing in the labor market, higher rates, for example of vacancy filling and things like that, and more people coming back in we’d like to think that supply and demand will come back into balance,” he added. “And that, therefore, wage inflation will moderate to still high levels of wage increases, but ones that are more consistent with 2% inflation. That’s our expectation.”
“There’s no question that inflation and high prices are a challenge for families across the country, and fighting inflation is a top priority for me,” President Joe Biden said in a statement responding to the jobs report. “The continued strength of our job market and the savings that families have built up over the last year means that our economy faces the challenges of COVID-19, Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and global inflation from a position of strength.”
“There’s more work to do,” Biden added. “I encourage Congressional Republicans to join us in our efforts to lower prices for families across the country, by making more in America, strengthening our supply chains, and cutting the energy and prescription drug costs.”