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U.S. economy's job creation revved up in June

6:18 PM, Jul 5, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) -- The nation's businesses accelerated hiring in June, but the lion's share of jobs created was in the leisure and hospitality sector, which tend to be lower paying.

The Labor Department reported Friday that non-farm payrolls expanded by a much-higher-than-expected 195,000 jobs last month.

The jobless rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent. Economists had expected the rate to dip to 7.5 percent and jobs growth of around 160,000.

Leisure and hospitality added 75,000 jobs in June; professional and business services added 53,000; retail trade increased by 37,000; health care rose by 20,000; and employment in financial activities increased by 17,000.

The public sector again was a drag on jobs growth. The federal government shed 5,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department said, bringing the total number of jobs lost in that sector over the past 12 months to 65,000.

The numbers provided a mixed bag of news: While the actual employment level grew by 160,000, the unemployment ranks increased as well, by 17,000.

Those working part-time for economic reasons also jumped, growing 32,200 for the month.

That pushed a more encompassing count of unemployment that includes discouraged and underemployed from 13.8 percent to 14.3 percent.

Moreover, the quality of jobs was weak.

"It's so hard. Unless you know somebody you can't get a job," said Sharon MacGregor, 43, of Patterson, N.J.

MacGregor was laid off a year ago from her job at a medical education company and has struggled since to find a job that can help her make ends meet.

"Now that I've been unemployed for more than six months, I don't feel like I'm even being considered," she said. "Pay is so low. I know we're not supposed to be choosy, but you have to live."

The average duration of unemployment actually fell in June but remained elevated at 35.6 weeks.

U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, as investors cheered the better-than-expected June jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened higher, led by Bank of America.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also rose at the open.

Stock market investors had been eagerly awaiting the number not only for indications of labor market strength but also as a gauge for when the central bank's historically extreme easing policy might start to wane.

Fed officials have sent mixed signals over the past several weeks, with Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that quantitative easing could begin to taper later this year and cease altogether in mid-2014.

While the numbers provided confirmation that employment gains continued pretty much apace with the past year or so, the Fed's targeted growth level remains elusive and the routine of zero interest rates and the $85 billion a month of bond purchases likely will continue.

"We can expect the Fed to continue providing hints of tapering, while maintaining status quo with the current QE program," said Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital. "Overall, this report is remarkably bullish for stocks."

CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

Patrick Rizzo, NBC News

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