From the NYT:
The Labor Department releases its report on June job growth on Friday, and economists are crossing their fingers for some good news.
“Good news” is a relative term, of course.
In May, the nation’s employers added a measly 69,000 jobs, whereas a gain of 125,000 to 150,000 jobs is needed just to keep up with the growth in the working-age population before even touching the backlog of nearly 13 million unemployed Americans. The median forecast for June is that job growth ticked up slightly to 90,000 jobs, and that the unemployment rate stayed flat at 8.2 percent.
That 90,000 number is a relatively small fraction of the growth rate many economists had been expecting just a few months ago.
During the winter, the economy seemed to be picking up steam, as private companies took on more and more workers and the unemployment rate dropped precipitously. In January, for example, nonfarm payrolls grew by 275,000 jobs.
But job growth slowed suddenly in March, April and May. That led some economists to wonder if the unseasonably warm winter, rather than a fundamentally healthier economy, had been the source of the temporary employment surge.
“The weather distortion should be finished now, so we should have a somewhat cleaner reading of what’s actually happening with payrolls,” said Andrew Tilton, a senior United States economist at Goldman Sachs.
The question is whether that cleaner reading is a sustainably higher one as well.