288,000 Jobs, Lower Unemployment in June

Washington D.C. -- The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

That number beats economists' expectations and comes along with other good news: Job growth was revised higher for both May and April.

Taken altogether, that means employers added 1.4 million jobs in the first six months of the year.

That's the strongest six months for job growth since 2006.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is now 6.1%, down from 6.3% in May. The drop came for the right reasons: More Americans said they had jobs, plus more people joined the labor force.

Another encouraging sign: pay is on the rise. Hourly wages ticked up 0.2% in June and are up 2% in the past 12 months.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said she wants to see wages rising faster than inflation. If average Americans see their buying power rise, that could boost consumer spending -- the single biggest driver of the U.S. economy.

Over the past year, 2.3 million Americans have found jobs. Unemployment is down for many ages and races, although teens are still struggling with a 21% jobless rate.

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