The U.S. job market continues to weaken, as payroll contracted for the sixth straight month and unemployment remained at 5.5%, according to today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Weekly paychecks for most workers over the past year are up only 2.8%, well below the growth of inflation.
The number of jobs in America has now fallen every month this year, and is down 438,000 since it peaked last December. Also, in another sign of expanding weakness, the BLS revised employment counts down for April and May by 52,000 jobs. It also helps to look only at what is happening in the private sector. Since government jobs are less sensitive to the business cycle, private sector employment is a more telling indicator of the impact of market conditions. Having peaked in November of last year, non-government payrolls are down 578,000, including 91,000 in June.