Employers added 850K jobs in June, including 2.8K in accounting

Cecilia Nysing

Employment rose by 850,000 jobs in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, including 2,800 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping, as the economic recovery strengthens.

The unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a point to 5.9%, but the number of jobs added last month beat analyst expectations. Gains in the leisure and hospitality sector were especially strong, as well as education, professional and business services, retail trade and other services.

The job gains came as a further sign of an accelerating economic recovery thanks to the wide availabilty of COVID-19 vaccines, although the spread of the Delta variant is causing concerns of possible shutdowns ahead in some parts of the country that are experiencing increasing infection rates.

The BLS revised downward the job numbers in April by 9,000, from a gain of 278,000 to 269,000, but the job gains for May were revised upward by 24,000, from 559,000 to 583,000 jobs added. With both revisions, employment in April and May combined was 15,000 higher than previously reported. Average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents to $30.40 in June, following increases in May and April of 13 cents and 20 cents, respectively.

Jobs in professional and business services rose by 72,000 in June but are down by 633,000 since February 2020. Most of the gains last month came in temporary help services, where 33,000 jobs were added.

“There are a few items that are working to hold down the employment number,” said Phil Noftsinger, executive vice president at Top 100 Firm CBIZ. “Those items are childcare, enhanced unemployment benefits, concern about employee safety, and those kinds of things, but economically that’s working in our favor, because if you had gotten a really overheated number, it might move the Fed to do more action related to interest rates, so ultimately from an overall macroeconomic perspective, it might be a good thing that we’re easing our way back in to full employment. I would have liked to see more jobs in the accounting space, but it’s nice to see professional services adding back to the mix. I look at growth in professional services as a benchmark for the overall economy as well, because typically those businesses are supporting retail businesses, construction, manufacturing, those kinds of things, so when professional services are growing, my instinct is that the overall economy is also doing well.”

Accountants are regaining jobs they may have lost during the pandemic or moving to better-paying jobs after learning new skills during the pandemic through online learning. “Professionals who were underemployed or dissatisfied with their roles pre-pandemic are taking control of their careers and preparing to make bold moves,” said Doreen Remmen, senior vice president of operations and CFO at the Institute of Management Accountants. “These individuals are assessing their current situation and are ready to seize career opportunities as the economy rebounds and supply chains open up. They are seeking positions that provide flexibility in schedule and support quality of life. Companies that managed through the pandemic with rolling furloughs and salary cuts cannot count on loyalty from their employees. Highly skilled accountants and financial professionals are always in demand.”

CBIZ does its own Small Business Employment Index each month, and on Friday the firm reported a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.34% for June in small-business hiring among 3,600 companies with 300 or fewer employees. Hiring increased the most in the Northeast, at 2.77%, showing the impact of broader economic reopening in the region. The Central region also saw a hiring increase of 0.09%, while declines happened in the Southeast of -0.17% and the West at -0.79%. In terms of industries, financial services, arts and entertainment, construction, nonprofits, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services all saw hiring growth among small businesses last month, but declines occurred in educational services, insurance and transportation, according to CBIZ.

“June is typically a very strong month for hiring, as young folks come back from schools and they get jobs, so to have a month that’s seasonally adjusted and still be positive is a really good thing,” said Noftsinger. “I found the pop in the Northeast to be extremely interesting, because those cities and major urban areas are starting to open up more. It’s all positive and moving in the right direction, but there’s still a good way to go.”

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