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US jobless rate falls to 5.3% but wages refuse to budge

Washington: US unemployment rate dropped to a seven-year low of 5.3 per cent in June with employers adding a healthy 223,000 jobs, but wages refused to expand, an official report said on Thursday in a mixed reading of the jobs market.

The Labour Department said that the unemployment rate fell from 5.5 per cent in May.

But the rate fell largely because of an exodus of people from the workforce who gave up on their job searches, rather than more Americans finding work.

When Barack Obama became US President in January 2009, the unemployment rate was touching nearly double digit at the height of a global economic crisis.

“The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.3 per cent in June, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 375,000 to 8.3 million,” the Labour Department said.

The share of Americans working or looking for work, which in many ways is a better sign of economic robustness than the oft-cited jobless rate, fell 0.3 percentage point in June.

“Our economy has now added 5.6 million jobs over the past two years, the strongest two-year job growth since 2000. But despite this progress, there is more work to do,” said Betsey Stevenson, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House.

According to the White House, the private sector has added 12.8 million jobs over 64 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said it is a good thing that more Americans found jobs last month, ut there’s still “a lot that can be done” to create more opportunity.

“Our tax code is a huge drag on our economy. And we’ve got to reform our safety net so more people can move from welfare to work. This report shows wages are not growing the way they should, and too many people are still on the sidelines,” Ryan said In a statement.

“It’s encouraging that more Americans found work last month, but we must do better in order to achieve the sustained, robust economic growth we need,” said John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

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