US jobs growth in June beats expectations

US retail worker
[Getty Images]

US jobs growth slowed last month although the economy still created more posts than expected, official figures show.

Employers added 206,000 jobs in June, while the number of jobs created in May was revised down to 218,000 from the previous estimate of 272,000.

The US unemployment rate edged up to 4.1%, while wage growth rose at its slowest for three years.

Analysts said the figures could take the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, a step closer to cutting rates later this year.

Economists had forecast that the US economy would add 190,000 jobs in June.

Emily Bowerstock Hill, the chief executive of Bowerstock Capital Partners, said the figures were "relatively benign".

"The data isn't bad enough to alarm markets, and not bad enough to worry the Fed," she said.

She added that the Fed has "very clearly telegraphed they are expecting one cut" this year.

US interest rates were held again at 5.25%-5.5% in June, a range they have been in since July last year.

In the minutes of the US central bank's latest meeting, which were published on Wednesday, policymakers acknowledged the economy appeared to be slowing and that "price pressures were diminishing".

Financial markets are betting on a roughly 72% probability of a rate cut at the Fed's September meeting, and traders are also pricing in a rising chance of a second rate cut in December.

However, in June officials scrapped a March forecast that interest rates would fall by three-quarters of a percentage point this year, which would have meant cuts beginning this summer and continuing through the run-up to the US presidential election on 5 November.

In June, with the rate of price rises "stickier" than expected, and a jobs market that figures suggested was strong, the Fed changed its outlook to there being a single quarter-point cut this year.

Central banks around the world tend to follow the Fed's lead in cutting rates, although Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said in May that "there is no law that the Fed has to go first".