U.S. employers added a robust 195,000 jobs in June and many more in April and May than previously thought. The job growth raises hopes for a stronger economy in the second half of 2013.
But the unemployment rate remains at 7.6 percent. "The reason for that is that more people simply started searching for work," CBS MoneyWatch reporter Jason Brooks tells KXL.
And Brooks says if you've been unemployed for several months, it might still take awhile to find a new job. "I think it's hard to get excited about job prospects when you've been unemployed for a long time, it tends to beat down on ones self esteem. We are seeing some improvement out there, and things are going in the right direction" adds Brooks, but he expects that competition for new jobs will "remain tough."
The economy has added an average of 202,000 jobs a month for the past six months, up from 180,000 in the previous six according to a report released Friday. Hiring and consumer confidence have risen despite higher taxes and federal spending cuts.
Pay also rose sharply in June, the Labor Department's monthly jobs report showed. It has now outpaced inflation over the past year. Average hourly pay rose 10 cents to $24.01, that is 2.2 percent higher than a year ago.
Many of the new jobs were part time, and Brooks says we'll have to see average monthly gains of three-hundred to four-hundred thousand jobs a month to get back to the pre-recession days. "Right now, we're just keeping our heads above water."