Payroll growth rebounded sharply in June as the U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs amid concerns that both the employment picture and overall growth picture were beginning to weaken. The unemployment rate edged up to 3.7% as labor force participation rose, according to the Labor Department.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected nonfarm payrolls to rise by 165,000 and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.6%. May's initially reported growth of 75,000 had raised doubts about the durability of the record-setting expansion that began a decade ago. The May count was revised lower to 72,000.
Federal Reserve policymakers have been watching the jobs numbers closely.
Markets have been widely anticipating that the central bank will cut its benchmark interest rate later this month, regardless of what the June payrolls report showed. The stock market opened lower after the report as investors contemplated what the report might mean for expectations that the central bank will be cutting interest rates later this month in an effort to stave off a widely expected economic slowdown through the year.