US job growth in June beats expectations

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US job growth slowed last month, although the economy still created more jobs than expected, official figures showed.

Employers created 206,000 jobs in June, while the number of jobs created in May was revised down from the previous estimate of 272,000 to 218,000.

The US unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.1%, while wage growth was the weakest in three years.

Analysts expect the figures could bring the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, closer to a rate cut later this year.

Economists had predicted that the US economy would add 190,000 jobs in June.

Emily Bowerstock Hill, CEO of Bowerstock Capital Partners, said the numbers were “relatively favorable.”

“The data are not serious enough to alarm markets, and not serious enough to worry the Fed,” she said.

She added that the Fed “has been very clear that it expects one rate cut this year.”

US interest rates remained at 5.25%-5.5% again in June, a level that has been in place since July last year.

In minutes of the US central bank’s latest meeting, released on Wednesday, policymakers acknowledged that the economy appeared to be slowing and that “price pressures were easing.”

Financial markets are pricing the probability of a rate cut at the Fed’s September meeting at around 72%. In addition, traders are pricing in an increasing probability of a second rate cut in December.

In June, however, government officials scrapped a March forecast that rates would fall by three-quarters of a percentage point this year, implying that rates would be cut this summer and that the cuts would continue into the run-up to the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 5.

In June, as price increases were “sturdier” than expected and data showed the labor market was strong, the Fed changed its outlook to a quarter-percentage point rate cut this year.

Central banks around the world typically follow the Fed’s lead when it comes to cutting interest rates, although Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in May that “there is no law that says the Fed should act first.”

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