Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 195,000 in June, and job gains in April and May were revised upward, but the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Employment rose in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, health care, and financial activities.

The number of unemployed persons, at 11.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent, were unchanged in June. Both measures have shown little change since February.

In June, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.3 million. These individuals accounted for 36.7 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.0 million.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 53,000 in June. Job gains occurred in management and technical consulting services (with 8,000 added) and in computer systems design and related services (with job gains of 7,000). Employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (10,000 jobs added). Over the past year, professional and business services (which includes accounting and tax preparation in addition to other services) has added 624,000 jobs.

Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in June, with most of the increase occurring in credit intermediation (6,000 jobs added) and in insurance carriers and related activities (6,000 jobs added).

Federal government employment has continued to trend down in June (with 5,000 jobs lost) and has declined by 65,000 over the past 12 months.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised upward from a gain of 149,000 to 199,000, and the change for May was revised from an increase of 175,000 to 195,000. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 70,000 higher than previously reported.

“The labor market is continuing to strengthen, as evidenced by the gain of 195,000 new jobs created in June,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at the Conference Board, a business membership and research association. “Despite headwinds from the spending sequester, the employment number over the past three months has remained resilient. The strong advance in the employment count provides support for the Federal Reserve to start to taper back on its quantitative easing in the near future. More and bigger paychecks (average wages picked up significantly at 10 cents relative to May), together with more consumer confidence that could be derived from this surprising strength in the labor market, all feed consumer demand—which in turn feeds two-thirds of GDP. To continue this strength in the labor market, the key is not just the number of new paychecks from new jobs, but the additional spending power to perk up spending. Business will have to hire if there is more demand for goods and services. This momentum can be sustained with strong tailwinds from the housing, energy and automotive sectors.”

The White House greeted the job gains as an encouraging sign. “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” wrote Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a blog post on the White House’s Web site. “It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class, as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sounded a more skeptical note. “There’s some good news in this report, but economic growth is still tepid, the unemployment rate is far too high, and the president continues to promote policies that undermine robust job creation,” Boehner said in a statement. “Just look at the last few weeks: the president admits that his health care law is a drag on businesses; he threatens to veto a bill based on his own plan to make paying for college easier, then watches quietly as Senate Democrats let interest rates double; and he makes up new reasons to delay the Keystone pipeline in a speech about imposing a national energy tax. Imagine how many jobs would be created if the president stopped trying to expand government and started working with Republicans on policies that create sustained economic growth and expand opportunity for all Americans.”

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