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The U.S. economy added 372,000 nonfarm jobs in June, as the national unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% for the fourth consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Notable employment gains occurred in the education and health services sector (+96,000), business and professional services (+74,000) and leisure and hospitality (+67,000). Other sectors that showed strong job gains were transportation and warehousing (+36,000) and manufacturing (+29,000), the BLS said. 

Although the 372,000 total jobs added in June represented a slight deceleration compared to May’s revised number of 384,000, job gains were still significantly higher than the 250,000 that economists had been expecting. 

The 3.6% unemployment rate was the same in June as it has been every month since March, and the number of unemployed was essentially unchanged at 5.9 million last month. These measures track closely to the situation in February 2020 before the pandemic struck, when the unemployment rate was 3.5% and the number of unemployed was 5.7 million. 

The June labor force participation rate, at 62.2%, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.9%, were little changed over the month. Both measures remain below their February 2020 values (63.4% and 61.2%, respectively). 

In June, 2.1 million people reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic, according to supplemental data BLS collects in its monthly household surveys to gauge the pandemic’s impact on the labor market. 

Among those not in the labor force in June, 610,000 people said they were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, up from 455,000 the prior month. (To be counted as unemployed, individuals must be either actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.)   

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $32.08. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased 5.1%. In June, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 13 cents, or 0.5%, to $27.45.