The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.9 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
The median forecast of analysts surveyed by Econoday was for 703,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent.
The better than expected June figures follow big misses in both May and April. The May jobs number was revised up from the preliminary estimate of 559,000 to 583,000 in May and April was revised down from 278,000 to 269,000.
Those reports were taken as evidence to the claim that hiring is being held back by enhanced unemployment benefits, prompting Republican governors to bring those programs to an early end in around 25 states.
The economy has outperformed expectations on many metrics this year as vaccinations have boosted business and consumer confidence and restrictions on businesses have been lifted. The decisions by governors to end enhanced unemployment benefits, which pay an extra $300 a week, appear to have prompted some Americans to return to work in June.
Republican-led states have seen much stronger labor markets in the post-pandemic era. Eighteen of the top 20 states for jobs recovered since the coronavirus pandemic hit have Republican-controlled legislatures. Sixteen of these 18 states have Republican governors. Seventeen out of the top 20 states with the lowest unemployment rates have Republicans controlled legislatures