Rapid and broad based employment growth
Figure 1: Log nonfarm payroll employment from establishment series (blue), and from household series adjusted to conform to NFP concept (red), 2007M12=0, seasonally adjusted. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BEA, NBER, and author’s calculations.
It is of interest to note that the household adjusted series — touted by conservatives during the G.W. Bush era as a better measure of nonfarm payroll employment — first exceeded the previous peak in January 2014, with no apparent mention by those same individuals. By that metric, total nonfarm employment has exceeded its previous peak by nearly one percent.
Figure 2: Log private nonfarm payroll employment from establishment series (blue), and aggregate hours (red), 2007M12=0, seasonally adjusted. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BEA, NBER, and author’s calculations.
Not only has growth (by either total or private employment) over the past five months matched or exceeded 200K, revisions are typically to the upside.
Figure 4: Private nonfarm payroll employment January release (blue), February release (red), March release (green), April release (black), May release (teal), and June release (purple). Source: BLS.
A reassuring point, made by Jason Furman at the CEA, is that the advance in employment is broad based.
Figure 5: Source: Furman/CEA.
None of the foregoing should be viewed as a triumph of macroeconomic policy. For once I agree with Joint Economic Committee Chair Kevin Brady who stated “Today’s strong jobs report comes as a welcome relief to Americans on Main Street. Unfortunately, as good as today’s report is, the rate of job growth still isn’t sufficient to eliminate the private sector jobs gap by the time President Obama leaves office.” And the reason for that, in addition to the hangover from the debt binge of the 2000’s, is the imposition of too-early and unwise fiscal contraction (think sequester, cutting off extended unemployment, failure to extend SNAP, and failure to undertake additional infrastructure investments). Had there been less single-minded obstructionism, fiscal policy would have been much more counter-cyclical in nature, and the employment recovery accelerated.
With the acceleration in employment growth, there is ample discussion of tightening labor market and — without too much evidence — rising compensation costs.  The latest release does not provide much additional evidence of accelerating wage costs.
Figure 6: 12-month percent change in average hourly earnings for private sector production and nonsupervisory workers (blue), and for all private sector workers (red), and for CPI-all, all calculated as 12 month log differences. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS via FRED, NBER, and author’s calculations.