On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, its lowest level since September 2008, the month Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy sparked a global financial crisis. The U.S. has added 1.4 million jobs so far this year, making it the best half-year since the recession ended. Payrolls are up by 2.5 million over the past year, also the best mark of the recovery.
The June data is preliminary, and will be revised at least twice in the coming months. But for once, pretty much all the evidence in the report points in the same direction. The household survey — a separate government tally of employment based on a survey of individuals rather than businesses — showed equally strong job gains. Hiring was broadly distributed across industries, and average hourly wages were up six cents in June for the second month in a row. The share of the population that’s working, a measure known as the employment-population ratio, ticked up to 59 percent, its highest level since August 2009 (though still down significantly from its prerecession mark of nearly 63 percent).