The ominously-titled BLS report on The Employment Situation is out on Friday 8 July. Last month’s release reported low US unemployment at 3.6 per cent, but showed employment growth cooling slightly. Expect little change in June: the Fed’s latest summary of economic projections forecasts 3.7 per cent unemployment, with a possible range of 3.2-4 per cent for the rest of the year.
Average (non-farm) hourly earnings for all employees rose by 10¢ over May – a meagre 0.3 per cent increase. Real earnings for June 2022 are next week’s excitement (the BLS will release figures on 13 July), but the employment report will provide updated hourly earnings figures for June in the meantime. With CPI inflation running at 8.6 per cent, expect earnings growth to continue to lag behind inflation this month – despite the tight labour market.
Although the overall US labour market remains buoyant, jobs in retail declined in May, dropping by 61,000 over the month. The majority of these job losses were in general merchandising stores, but clothing and clothes accessories stores alone shed 9,000 workers. Could this be a sign of consumers cutting back as the cost of living soars? 6 July’s services ISM report will provide further insight into the health of the retail sector: it was, tellingly, one of only a handful of industries to see a decrease in business activity in last month’s release.