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New federal job numbers shine light on state of the economy

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With the first Friday of the month comes the latest set of job numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Russell Weaver, an economic geographer at Cornell University, told Spectrum News 1 that this jobs report, which showed an increase of 272,000 jobs – more than the 180,000 predicted – there could be signs of “economic distress” and a mismatch between employers and household figures.

In May, a sample group of employers reported the creation of 272,000 jobs, which is ahead of the 180,000 that was forecasted. However, the household data sample showed that 400,000 people have reported not being employed, which brought the unemployment rate up to 4% from 3.9%.

Weaver said the disconnect could mean more people are working part-time, or working multiple jobs, to make ends meet, which could be a sign of economic distress.

Numbers tell one side of the story. Some employers are struggling to recruit employees and afford the salary and benefit expectations of employees.

Colleen Brust of Palenville Auto in Greene County says that her new auto shop is struggling to balance the effects of inflation with the higher-wage expectations of prospective employees. Brust added that finding qualified candidates has been a struggle in this market. 

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